Hong Leong Finance's full-year profit down on prudential provision

A general provisions charge and lower non-interest income hit Hong Leong Finance's bottom-line. -- PHOTO: HONG LEONG FINANCE 
A general provisions charge and lower non-interest income hit Hong Leong Finance's bottom-line. -- PHOTO: HONG LEONG FINANCE 

SINGAPORE - A general provisions charge and lower non-interest income hit Hong Leong Finance's bottom-line.

Net profit for the full-year ended on Dec 31 declined 10.4 per cent to $62.8 million even though net interest income saw a 0.5 per cent uptick to $149 million.

Fee and commission income fell 20.9 per cent to $12.3 million as the firm said it saw lower fee income from some lending products.

Its other operating income also declined 84.1 per cent to $199,000.

A $2 million topping-up of general prudential provisions due to a growth in its loan book, compared with a write back of $2.3 million in the previous year, also led to lower profits.

Deposits and balances of its customers grew 5.7 per cent to $10.5 billion

But it stressed that non-performing loans remain low and are substantially secured.

Earnings per share stood at 14.17 cents, down from 15.85 cents while net asset value per share was $3.74, up from $3.72.

A final cash dividend of six cents per share has been proposed, down from the previous year's eight cents.

Hong Leong Finance chairman Kwek Leng Beng noted in a statement that the residential property market was sluggish last year while the car loan business remained slow due to "restrictive credit regulations."

He also sounded a note of caution about this year's prospects as regional geo-political tensions could have negative consequences on the global economic outlook.

Singapore's ongoing restructuring efforts could also mean the economy would face further headwinds.

"At the same time, we will remain focused in being prudent and proactive in seeking new opportunities on ensuring healthy and measured balance sheet growth," said Mr Kwek.