National Bank (TSX:NTB) reported a net profit of $776 million in the final quarter of 2018, up 25 percent from a year earlier.
The results released Friday show National Bank’s diversified commercial and wealth businesses continuing to strengthen its overall business, particularly as business confidence increases.
The bank’s earnings per share increased by a third from a year earlier to $2.90 per share.
Excluding one-time items, income was $874 million, up 6.6 per cent from a year earlier.
TD Securities analyst Scott Chan, who had expected the bank to report a profit of $756 million on revenues of $2.5 billion, said that he liked National Bank’s earnings as both non-interest income and expenses grew slower than revenues.
“As the bank continues to make investments in several businesses, including its wealth and international segments, we think some of this more general efficiency will only benefit National Bank down the road, as we expect these operating entities to be the top performers in their respective categories,” Chan wrote in a note to clients.
“The bank’s 19 per cent increase in quarterly dividends reflects this renewed confidence.”
Including its continuing international business, National Bank has operations in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and Ottawa. It has a banking unit in the United States, which includes its FirstCapital Financial Solutions company.
National Bank, one of Canada’s largest banks, said it was hiking its quarterly dividend 23 per cent to 70 cents per share, which is payable on May 31 to shareholders of record on May 13.