With global oil markets slowly creeping back up and borders still closed, Trinidad-based First Citizens Group reported a 22 per cent decline in net profit to TT$173.9 million (J$3.8 billion) for the period ending December 31, 2020.
As the economic fallout continues in the COVID-19 environment, net interest income fell by 11 per cent to TT$381.8 million as interest rates declined further with gross loans fell by 2 per cent to TT$19.1 billion. A 26 per cent decline in other income to TT$140.4 million due to a fall in fees and commissions resulted in a 16 per cent drop in net income to TT$522.2 million.
However, a reduction in credit impairment provisions and three per cent drop in non-interest expenses resulted in a 27 per cent fall in operating profit to TT $228.9 million. The group’s share of profit dropped by 35 per cent to TT$4 million. With lower taxes charged during the period, earnings per shares dropped by 22 per cent to TT$0.69.
Total assets grew by five per cent to TT$47.8 billion (J$1.04 trillion) mainly due to a growth in cash and property assets. Total liabilities increased by six per cent as deposits rose to TT $33.4 billion while shareholder’s equity grew by four per cent to TT$7.6 billion. First Citizen’s declared a dividend of TT$0.36 (TT $90.5 million) for payment to shareholders on record as of February 10.
Even with the current climate, Chairman Anthony Smart remains cautiously optimistic about the future of the country as the non-energy sectors have seen an uptick in investments between construction and manufacturing. Trinidad Cement Limited reported a three per cent growth in cement sales for the third quarter while its Jamaican subsidiary, which it acquired in 1999, saw a 30 per cent rise in sales.
“The coronavirus has created substantial uncertainties, unfortunate circumstances and economic challenges worldwide. Be that as it may, First Citizens remains steadfast in our commitment to maintain organisational sustainability while securing the interests of all our stakeholders. We will continue to work with our customers and support our communities through this challenging period,” Smart said.