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FINANCIAL SERVICES | Staff Reporter, Singapore
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5 highlights you should know about UOB's 2013 results

Loan growth was impressive at 16.8%.

According to OSK DMG, UOB’s net profit of SGD773m (+6% q-o-q; +11% y-o-y) for 4Q13 lifted its FY13 earnings to SGD3.01bn (+7% y-o-y).

This is above their (SGD2.80bn) and consensus (SGD2.84bn) estimates, due to a low effective tax rate of 9% in 4Q13.

Here's more from OSK DMG:

Pretax profit (+7% y-o-y) was in line with our forecast, supported by healthy growth in net interest income (NII), fee income and higher associate profits (+119% y-o-y to SGD191m on non-recurring gains from sale of investments).

Results highlights. FY13’s standouts include:

i) NII grew a steady 5% y-o-y;

ii) loans growth was robust and broad-based (+16.8% y-o-y; +3.1% q-o-q);

iii) although net interest margin (NIM) fell 15bps y-o-y to 1.72%, it had been stable since 2Q13;

iv) sustained fee income growth (+15% y-o-y) was led by the fund management (+33% y-o-y), investment-related (+31% y-o-y) and loan-related (+14% y-o-y) segments; and

v) asset quality was healthy, as absolute non-performing loans (NPL) contracted 12% y-o-y while the NPL ratio dipped to 1.1% (FY12: 1.5%). Loan loss coverage rose to 150.5% (FY12: 123.8%).

Management guidance. For 2014, management sees loan growth moderating to a high single digit as measures to cool the property sector have led to a c.35% drop in new mortgage approvals. NIM is likely to be stable as short-term rates are expected to stay flat. We expect benign credit cost, as asset quality remains resilient, while fee income growth is expected sustain at double digits given the momentum seen in the bank’s wealth management and fee-based businesses. UOB would actively tap USD deposits and commercial papers to diversify its funding base as loan-to-deposit ratio (LDR) has risen to 88.5% (Dec 2012: 84%). 

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