© Reuters. People pass by a UOB bank branch in Singapore November 4, 2020. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Singapore’s United Overseas Bank (OTC:) reported on Thursday a 74% surge in core profit in the first quarter from a year earlier on the back of strong net interest and non-interest income growth.
The lender’s core profit, which excludes one-off expenses, rose to a record S$1.58 billion ($1.20 billion) in the first quarter, just above the mean estimate of some S$1.55 billion from four analysts polled by Refinitiv.
Net profit in the first quarter climbed 67% to $1.51 billion.
“We delivered record profits this quarter backed by our core businesses and diversified growth drivers,” Wee Ee Cheong, CEO of the Southeast Asia-focused bank said in a statement.
“We also focused on strengthening our balance sheet, so that we can continue to support our customers through market cycles,” he said.
UOB expects low to mid-single digit percentage loan growth for this year, double-digit fees growth and credit costs at 20 to 25 basis points, Wee said in a media briefing after the earnings announcement.
Last year, UOB acquired Citigroup (NYSE:)’s consumer business in four Southeast Asian markets for about S$5 billion, marking its biggest deal in two decades. When completed, the move will double its retail customer base in these markets.
“Our Citigroup integration is progressing well,” Wee said. “We are on track to close in Indonesia by the end of the year after completing our acquisition in Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.”
($1 = 1.3348 Singapore dollars)
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