Malaysia's Maybank Q4 profit up 16 pct on higher loans, fee income

KUALA LUMPUR Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:24am EST

KUALA LUMPUR Feb 21 (Reuters) - Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank), Southeast Asia's fourth-biggest lender by assets, reported a 16 percent rise in quarterly profit on Thursday, bolstered by higher net loans, advances and fee income.

Net profit in its October-December fourth quarter was 1.46 billion ringgit ($471.5 million), up from 1.26 billion ringgit a year earlier, Maybank said in a local stock exchange filing. The result was slightly lower than the average estimate of a 1.51 billion ringgit profit in a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S poll of two analysts.

Quarterly revenue rose 4.3 percent year-on-year. The company announced a dividend of 33 sen per share.

"Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the group expects its financial performance for the financial year ending Dec. 31, 2013 to be better than the previous financial year," Maybank said in the filing.

Growing economies in Southeast Asia have helped Malaysian banks to expand in recent quarters, cushioning them from slowing global growth.

Maybank, Malaysia's biggest bank, recently injected $100 million into its Philippine unit to expand its network in that country. Last year, second-ranked CIMB Group Holdings Bhd bought some of the Asian operations of Royal Bank of Scotland Plc and the unlisted banking arm of the Philippines' San Miguel Corp.

For 2012, Maybank's net profit rose 18 percent to 5.74 billion ringgit, as revenue climbed 16 percent. The average forecast in a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S poll of 26 analysts was for a full-year profit of 5.59 billion ringgit.

Shares of Maybank rose 10 percent in 2012, compared with a 12 percent rise in the broader market. They were down 0.2 percent prior to the results announcement, against the market's 0.6 percent fall.