SET-listed banks post 8% rise in net profit
TMB best performer, CIMB at the bottom
SET-listed commercial banks posted a 8.2% rise in their unaudited consolidated net profit for 2018, with most of them setting aside lower impairment charges that cancelled out the impact of waiving digital transaction fees and some recording extra gains on investments.
Most of the banks saw their consolidated non-performing loans (NPLs) tick up last year, though Thailand's economy was expected to register its fastest growth pace in several years.
The 11 commercial banks posted a combined net profit of 209 billion baht for 2018, compared with 193 billion baht the previous year, according to their filings with the Stock Exchange of Thailand.
TMB Bank was the best performer. Its 2018 net profit soared 34% to 11.6 billion baht, mainly due to gains on investment. The bank recorded gains amounting to 12 billion baht last year, compared with 64 million in the previous year.
TMB in the third quarter reported a one-off gain of 11.8 billion baht from the divestment of a 65% stake in TMB Asset Management (TMBAM) to Eastspring Investments, the asset management arm of Prudential Corporation Asia.
The bank's net interest income fell by 1% to 24.5 billion baht in 2018, while net fee and service income dropped to 9.34 billion baht from 10.6 billion a year earlier.
The bank set aside 16.1 billion baht in loan-loss provision last year, nearly doubling from 8.9 billion in 2017.
"The bank set a higher provision in preparation for IFRS 9 and prudent qualitative loan downgrade," said chief executive Piti Tantakasem. "As a result, the bank set up an additional 7 billion baht of provision from its normal level."
TMB's gross NPLs rose to 2.76% of total loans at the end of 2018 from 2.35% a year earlier.
Krungthai Bank, the country's second-largest lender by assets, emerged as the second-best performer, delivering a 27% increase in yearly net profit to 28.5 billion baht, KTB said in a release, noting that a sharp decline in loan-loss provision contributed to the rise in net profit.
The bank's impairment charge for credit loss totalled 26.2 billion baht in 2018, compared with 44.8 billion put aside in the previous year.
KTB's gross NPLs climbed to 4.52% of loans outstanding at the end of 2018 from 4.19% a year earlier.
Coverage ratio rose to 125.8% at the end of 2018 from 121.7% the year before.
The bank's net interest income fell 3.7% to 83.7 billion baht in 2018, and its net fee and service income dipped 1.25% to 23.7 billion last year.
Net interest margin narrowed to 3.13% by the end of 2018 from 3.28% a year earlier.
KTB's total expenses surged 7.3% to 53.1 billion baht in 2018, resulting in a higher cost-to-income ratio of 45.3% from 40.2% in 2017.
For other large banks, Kasikornbank (KBank) delivered a 12% increase in consolidated net profit with 38.5 billion baht in 2018, up from 34.3 billion a year earlier.
The higher net profit was due to a smaller loan-loss provision aligned with asset quality and a 4.7% increase in net interest income. KBank set loan-loss provision for 2018 at 41.81 billion baht, down 22% from 32.53 billion a year earlier.
The bank's net interest income rose by 4.37 billion baht, largely due to interest income from loans to customers and investments.
KBank, the country's third-largest lender by assets, saw a 9.2% decline in its net non-interest income to 38.1 billion baht last year, bitten by the scrapping of digital transaction fees and a decrease in net premiums earned.
Gross NPL ratio ticked up to 3.34% at the end of 2018 from 3.3% the previous year.
Bangkok Bank (BBL) recorded a net profit of 35.3 billion baht last year, up 7% from a year earlier, due to higher net interest, fee and service income, and lower loan-loss provision.
The country's largest bank by assets posted net interest income of 71.4 billion baht last year, rising 7% year-on-year. Its net fee and service income was a tad higher at 27.6 billion baht in 2018 from 27.5 billion a year earlier, as the higher gains on trading and foreign exchange transactions and investments offset the impact of waiving digital transaction fees.
The bank in 2018 set aside an impairment charge for credit loss amounting to 21.9 billion baht, down from 22.4 billion in the previous year.
BBL's gross NPLs fell to 3.4% of loans outstanding at the end of 2018 from 3.9% in the preceding year.
Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) saw its 2018 net profit dip 7.1% to 40.1 billion baht on lower fee and service income after scrapping digital transaction fees and incurring higher operating expenses associated with investment in SCB Transformation programme.
The country's second-largest bank by assets reported that net fee and service income amounted to 28.5 billion baht in 2018, compared with 30.3 billion a year earlier.
SCB's total operating expenses rose to 64.4 billion baht in 2018 from 57.7 billion in the previous year.
The bank's net interest income increased to 96.4 billion baht from 92.3 billion in 2017.
SCB's gross NPLs edged up to 2.85% of loans outstanding at the end of 2018 from 2.83% a year earlier.
On the other end of the scale, CIMB Thai Bank (CIMBT) was the worst performer last year, with a 98.2% tumble in its yearly net profit, largely due to higher expenses and lower gains on trading, foreign exchange and investments.
CIMBT posted a net profit of 6.9 million baht for 2018, compared with 385 million in the previous year.
Gains on trading and foreign exchange transactions declined to 1.05 billion baht in 2018 from 2.24 billion in the preceding year, while gains on investment tumbled to 19.5 million baht from 107 million.
The small bank's net fee and service income dropped to 1.81 billion baht in 2018 from 1.94 billion a year earlier, but net interest income rose to 10.7 billion baht from 10.2 billion.
CIMBT set aside an impairment charge for credit loss of 4.92 billion baht in 2018, down from 5.05 billion a year earlier.
The bank's gross NPL ratio fell to 4.3% at the end of 2018 from 4.8% a year earlier.