HONG KONG (REUTERS) - Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) , Malaysia's largest lender by assets, reported a 43 per cent rise in fourth-quarter profit on Thursday (Feb 23), beating analyst estimates, and forecast stronger loan growth in its core markets of Malaysia and Indonesia.
Loan growth and a rise in investment income helped push profit for the October-December period to RM2.36 billion (S$750.3 million), from RM1.65 billion a year earlier, Maybank said in a statement to the stock exchange.
The result exceeded analysts' average estimate of 1.84 billion ringgit, Thomson Reuters data showed.
Net interest income rose 1 per cent to RM2.96 billion from RM2.93 billion a year earlier, Maybank said.
The bank posted a 5.7 per cent rise in loans to RM485.7 billion as at the end of December. It expects loan growth to be in the range of 6 per cent to 7 per cent this year, Maybank said.
"Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the group expects its financial performance for 2017 to be satisfactory given the persisting challenging global environment," it said.
The bank's net impaired loans ratio was 1.51 per cent at the end of December, compared with 1.52 per cent in the preceding quarter and 1.38 per cent in the year-earlier period.
Maybank's stock price fell 2.5 per cent over the 12 months through Wednesday, making it the worst performer among Malaysia's 10 banking-sector stocks which saw an average price gain of 10.9 per cent in the same period.
The stock ended Thursday morning trade down 0.48 per cent in a flat broader market.