National Bank reports fourth-quarter profit up from year ago, raises dividend

MONTREAL — National Bank of Canada raised its dividend as it reported fourth-quarter net income grew to $525 million.

The bank (TSX:NA) increased its quarterly payment to its common shareholders by two cents to 60 cents per share.

The move came as National Bank says its net income amounted to $1.39 per diluted share for the quarter ended Oct. 31, up from $307 million or 78 cents per share a year ago.

Revenue totalled $1.70 billion, up from $1.57 billion.

Excluding specified items, the bank said it earned $531 million or $1.40 per diluted share in the quarter, up from $463 million or $1.24 per share a year ago.

Analysts had expected a profit of $1.38 per share, according to Thomson Reuters.

“The fourth quarter concludes a record year for the Bank in which its net income exceeded $2 billion for the first time,” National Bank chief executive Louis Vachon said in a statement Friday.

“This excellent performance was driven by revenue growth across all of the bank’s business segments and by an effective management of operating costs.”

Provisions for credit losses in the fourth quarter totalled $70 million, up from $59 million a year ago, due to its Credigy subsidiary, partly offset by lower provisions recorded for commercial banking loans.

Personal and commercial banking earned $239 million in the quarter, up from $191 million a year ago, while wealth management earned $116 million, up from $92 million.

Financial markets earned $186 million, up from $176 million, and U.S specialty finance and international earned $55 million, up from $21 million.

For its full financial year, National Bank earned $2.02 billion or $5.38 per diluted share, up from $1.26 billion or $3.29 per diluted share in the previous year.

Excluding specified items, the bank earned $2.04 billion or $5.45 per diluted share, up from $1.61 billion or $4.35 billion.

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