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Chairman emeritus Tan Sri Dr Teh Hong Piow said 2018 was marked by a more moderate economic growth, with increased headwinds on both global and domestic front and banks were faced with a more challenging business climate.

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KUALA LUMPUR: Public Bank Bhd’s fourth quarter net profit falls 5.4 per cent to RM1.41 billion, bogged down by higher other operating expenses and non-operational foreign exchange loss.

Group revenue edged up to RM5.63 billion from RM5.35 billion previously.

Its founder and chairman emeritus Tan Sri Dr Teh Hong Piow said 2018 was marked by a more moderate economic growth, with increased headwinds on both global and domestic front and banks were faced with a more challenging business climate.

“Despite the challenging operating environment, the Public Bank Group continued to sustain stable profitability and a healthy balance sheet growth.

“Our net profit attributable to shareholders increased by 2.2 per cent to RM5.59 billion in 2018 from RM5.47 billion achieved in 2017,” he said in a statement today.

Teh said the group was able to sustain stable profitability due to its loans and deposits business, coupled with strong asset quality and prudent cost management.

For the full-year, its net profit went up 2.2 per cent to RM5.59 billion from RM5.47 billion in 2017, with revenue rising six per cent to RM22.04 billion from RM20.86 billion.

“The group continued to sustain its leading position amongst domestic banks with lowest gross impaired loan ratio of 0.5 per cent and most efficient cost-to-income ratio of 33.0 per cent, leading to net return-on-equity ratio of 14.8 per cent for 2018,” he said.

Public Bank declared a second interim dividend of 37 sen a share together with the first interim dividend of of 69 sen, representing a total dividend payout of RM2.7 billion and 47.9 per cent of the group’s net profit for 2018.

Teh expects the Malaysian economy to remain stable on a steady growth path this year.

Underpinned by the resilience in private sector activity, the overall outlook for the domestic banking sector was likely to remain stable, he said.

“With the mass market being its key targeted segment, the Public Bank Group continues to expect growth arising from the growing private sector economy.

“As we continue to focus on organic growth strategy, the group will continue to sharpen its competencies to strengthen its long term growth momentum.

As at the end of 2018, Public Bank’s capital position remained at healthy levels and after payment of the second interim dividend, the group’s common equity Tier 1 capital ratio, Tier 1 capital ratio and total capital ratio will stand at 13.1 per cent, 13.7 per cent and 16.3 per cent respectively.

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