DBS Q1 net profit rises 6% to $1.2 billion; gross income hits new high

According to six analysts polled by Bloomberg the average first quarter profit forecast was $1.04 billion.

Singapore's biggest banking group, DBS, said its first-quarter net profit rose as much as six percent on the back of increased net interest income.

Profits rose to S$1.20 billion for the three months ended March 31 from S$1.13 billion a year ago, the bank said.

Total income also reached a new high, rising 5 percent to $2.87 billion as net interest income grew 8 percent $1.83 billion, Southeast Asia's biggest lender said.

According to six analysts polled by Bloomberg the average first quarter profit forecast was $1.04 billion.

The rise in profits at DBS came even as lenders in the region came under pressure by a slowdown in the region and weak commodity prices. Two other big banks in the country, OCBC bank and UOB, reported lower profits in the first quarter.

"Despite heightened risk aversion during the quarter, non-interest income of SGD 1.03 billion was comparable to the quarterly high a year ago, when financial market activities were boosted by favourable central bank policy actions," the bank said in a statement.

The non-performing loan rate rose slightly to 1 percent but that was in line with earlier guidance, the bank said.

Net interest income rose 8 percent $1.83 billion though loans declined 1 percent to $274 billion. Non-interest income was 2 percent lower at $1.03 billion.

While fee income rose to a new high, trading income was affected by financial market volatility during the quarter.

Compared with the previous quarter, net profit rose 20 percent as a result of higher non-interest income and a lower cost-income ratio, the bank said.

"While we have had a succession of record earnings, this quarter's performance is particularly satisfying because it was achieved in unusually challenging market conditions," DBS CEO Piyush Gupta said.

"We are proud of the depth and quality of the franchise we have systematically built over the past few years. Our continuing investments in regional businesses and efforts to reinforce risk management, together with a robust balance sheet, put us in a strong position to continue supporting customers and delivering consistent shareholder returns," Gupta added.