Malaysia’s Maybank posts highest-ever first-quarter profit

Malaysian banks with presence in the neighboring Southeast Asia countries, such as Maybank, expect stronger demand for corporate and consumer loans as economies improve. (Reuters)
Updated 28 May 2018
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Malaysia’s Maybank posts highest-ever first-quarter profit

KUALA LUMPUR: Malayan Banking (Maybank), Malaysia’s largest lender, posted its highest ever first-quarter profit, helped by a drop in expenses and continued decline in impairment losses.
Maybank’s net profit for the quarter was 1.9 billion ringgits ($477.39 million), up 10 percent from 1.7 billion ringgits a year ago. It beat an average estimate of 1.85 billion ringgits from two analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.
Revenue was 2 percent higher at 11.5 billion ringgits.
The results were supported by a better cost-to-income ratio of 47.6 percent, versus 50.1 percent a year ago, as fee-based and fund-based income growth outpaced rise in overhead expenses, the bank said in a statement on Monday.
Net impairment losses for the quarter ended March fell 7.7 percent, while gross impaired loans ratio improved to 2.37 percent from 2.40 percent, it added.
Maybank’s Malaysian operations recorded a strong 6.7 percent increase in loans, while its Singapore and Indonesia operations saw increases of 5.5 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively.
On the group level, loans expanded 1.5 percent year-on-year.
Maybank Chairwoman Mohaiyani Shamsudin said the bank was buoyed by the positive outlook in the region and Malaysia, despite some uncertainties in the operating environment.
“In particular, we await policies which are expected to be outlined by the new government in Malaysia which we hope will further drive private sector investments and enhance consumer confidence,” she said.
The country’s lenders are seeing increased domestic loan demand from sectors including manufacturing, finance and infrastructure, analysts said.
Malaysian banks with presence in the neighboring Southeast Asia countries expect stronger demand for corporate and consumer loans as economies improve, which is likely to support credit growth in 2018.
But slower economic growth is a concern and uncertainty over economic policy has increased after 92-year-old Mahathir Mohamad led an opposition alliance to a surprise election win this month. Malaysia’s first-quarter GDP grew 5.4 percent from a year earlier, its second straight quarter of slower economic growth.
Maybank’s net interest margin (NIM) — the difference between interest paid and earned and a key gauge of bank profitability — shrank slightly to 2.39 percent in the first quarter from 2.43 percent a year ago.


Ghosn appeals against Japan bail rejection

Updated 52 min 10 sec ago
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Ghosn appeals against Japan bail rejection

  • The court has previously refused to release Ghosn on the grounds that he could present a flight risk and destroy evidence
  • If the bail appeal is turned down he faces at least a two-month period in pre-trial detention

TOKYO: Lawyers for former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn on Thursday appealed against a decision by a Tokyo court to refuse him bail, as he faces charges on three counts of financial misconduct.
Since his stunning arrest on November 19 the auto tycoon has languished in a Tokyo detention centre, facing questioning over allegations he under-reported his salary and tried to shift personal losses onto the company.
On January 11 he was formally charged on two of the counts and his request for bail refused again. Even his own lawyer has admitted he is likely to be kept behind bars until a trial -- which could take six months.
The court has previously refused to release the 64-year-old Franco-Lebanese-Brazilian businessman on the grounds that he could present a flight risk and destroy evidence.
The appeal came as the French government called for him to be replaced at the head of Renault, the only one of the three companies he used to head that has retained him.
Japanese firms Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors jettisoned him as boss almost immediately after his arrest, but Renault was more cautious and appointed an interim leader while Ghosn fought the charges.
If the bail appeal is turned down he faces at least a two-month period in pre-trial detention. This can be extended almost automatically by one month at a time.
His wife Carole has appealed to Human Rights Watch over his detention, saying he was being held in "harsh" conditions and subjected to round-the-clock interrogations in an attempt to extract a confession.
Ghosn has been seen only once in public since his detention, in a dramatic court appearance.
He had clearly lost a lot of weight but seemed otherwise in good health. He passionately proclaimed his innocence and his love for Nissan, a company he is widely credited with saving from the brink of bankruptcy.
"I have been wrongly accused and unfairly detained based on meritless and unsubstantiated accusations," Ghosn told a packed courtroom.