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Commonwealth Bank sees 35 per cent spike in profitability

Commonwealth Bank reported positive third quarter results yesterday, with a comprehensive net income of $39.3 million. Pictured: William B Sands, Jr, executive chairman of Commonwealth Bank. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013
Thursday, November 14, 2013

Commonwealth Bank reported positive third quarter results yesterday with a comprehensive net income of $39.3 million for the first nine months of the fiscal year, up 35 per cent year on year, largely as a result of lower costs associated with reductions in non-performing and charged off loans.

While the upbeat report is welcome news for the Bahamian bank’s 6,000 plus shareholders, it was accompanied by a statement from executive chairman William B Sands, Jr, which held somme reservations.

“While we are cautiously optimistic about the remainder of 2013, the bank is closely monitoring pending changes in the regulatory and tax environments for 2014,” said Sands.

Although he couched results in careful terms looking to a future that includes major regulatory and taxation changes, with increased business licence fees, as well as the proposed implementation of value added tax (VAT), there was no arguing with the bank’s fiscal 2013 success, a success it shares with its Bahamian shareholders from every walk of life and every island throughout the archipelago.

The bank’s positive results stretched across the board, with comprehensive net income for the three months ending September 30, 2013 standing at $13.2 million, nearly three times more than the previous year when results for the third quarter landed at $4.7 million, after being heavily impacted by increasing loan impairment expenses.

Total assets inched up slightly from $1.43 billion at the end of 2012 to $1.44 billion.

There were impressive increases in the bank’s earnings per share ratio, $0.36, up 45 per cent over 2012’s ratio of $0.25. The bank also showed dramatic improvement in its loan portfolio with its nonperforming loan ratio of 4.4 per cent outperforming the industry average of 13.9 per cent as reported by The Central Bank of The Bahamas.

Commonwealth Bank also reported strong capital and liquidity positions with capital adequacy at over 24 per cent and a liquidity ratio of 35 per cent, both significantly in excess of Central Bank’s requirements of 17 per cent and 20 per cent respectively.

“I wish to thank our shareholders, our customers and the public at large for their ongoing support, and our complement of hardworking and devoted employees who are instrumental in achieving our outstanding results,” said Sands.

Commonwealth Bank operates branches in New Providence, Grand Bahama and Abaco and has paid consistent quarterly dividends since it went public in 2000.

The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation's newly formed Coalition for Responsible Taxation is taking a cautious approach to the government's proposed introduction of VAT, saying that it is a complex issue that needs careful consideration.

Prime Minister Perry Christie was in London November 12, 2013, where he met with the principals of Hutchison Whampoa to discuss future investment prospects in Grand Bahama.

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