DBS Group announced a 14 per cent increase in net profit for 2019, to a record SGD 6.39 billion.
Despite external headwinds, total income increased 10 per cent to SGD 14.5 billion from broad-based business momentum. Return on equity advanced from 12.1% to a record 13.2%, DBS said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the bank's fourth-quarter earnings increased 14 per cent to SGD 1.51 billion. Total income rose 7 per cent to SGD 3.46 billion from loan growth and a double-digit improvement in fee income. Net interest income rose 4 per cent to SGD 2.43 billion, as loans grew 4 per cent to SGD 358 billion.
Compared to the previous quarter, DBS fourth-quarter net profit was 7 per cent lower. Total income fell 9 per cent to SGD 3.46 billion due to seasonally lower non-interest income, as well as a decline in net interest margin from falling interest rates.
DBS Board had proposed a final dividend of 33 cents per share for approval at the forthcoming annual general meeting.
Barring unforeseen circumstances, the annualised dividend will be SGD 1.32 per share, an increase of 10 per cent. The higher quarterly dividend is in line with the policy of paying sustainable dividends that grow progressively with earnings.
“Our record performance with return on equity at a new high of 13.2 per cent demonstrates a franchise that delivers high quality results," said DBS CEO Piyush Gupta. "The increased quarterly dividend proposed by the Board reflects the enhanced capacity of our business to generate earnings and reward shareholders.”