* Net profit S$921 mln vs S$796 mln consensus forecast
* Says sees significant opportunities in Greater China
* OCBC shares down 3.3 pct 2014 on concerns about Wing Hang
(adds detail from earnings, CEO's statement)
By Saeed Azhar
SINGAPORE, Aug 5 Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp
, Singapore's second-biggest lender, on Tuesday posted
a 54 percent rise in quarterly profit, beating expectations
thanks to brisk loan growth and a strong performance from its
OCBC, which last week boosted its China exposure by gaining
over 90 percent control of Hong Kong-lender Wing Hang Ltd
, said it expected to take advantage of growing
investment and trade flows between Greater China and Southeast
The bank earned S$921 million ($739 million) in the three
months ending in June, compared with S$597 million a year
earlier. The profit was above the S$796 million average forecast
of six analysts polled by Reuters.
OCBC shares have underperformed DBS Group Holdings
and United Overseas Bank this year since it became
known it intended to buy Wing Hang, a move which increased its
exposure to China's slowing economy. Investors were also
concerned about a potential rights issue of about S$3 billion
($2.41 billion) to fund the transaction.
OCBC shares are 3.3 percent lower so far this year, compared
with an almost 6 percent rise for larger rival DBS and 8.3
percent gain for UOB.
Singapore banks are witnessing a slowdown in the housing
market in response to government cooling measures, forcing them
to diversify earnings from areas such as trade finance and
DBS last week reported a 9 percent rise in quarterly profit,
beating expectations. UOB said quarterly profit grew 3.2 percent
although its bad debt charges doubled.
OCBC's quarterly net interest income - the gap between what
a bank makes from loans and pays on deposits - rose 17 percent
to S$1.1 billion, on the back of a 12 percent year-on-year rise
in customer loans.
Contributions from insurance unit Great Eastern Holdings
boosted non-interest income by 40 percent.
Bad debt charges fell just over 20 percent to S$66 million.
UOB, in contrast, doubled its bad debt charges in the second
quarter on losses on property and other loans. DBS saw a 48
percent decline in similar charges.
(1 US dollar = 1.2452 Singapore dollar)
(Reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Stephen Coates)