By Saurabh Chaturvedi
SINGAPORE--DBS Group Holdings Ltd., Singapore's biggest lender, on Monday reported a 21% rise in its first quarter net profit, helped by higher net interest income and non-interest income amid growth in loans.
Net profit in the March quarter was 1.51 billion Singapore dollars (US$1.14 billion), compared with S$1.25 billion in the same period last year.
DBS was expected to post a net profit of S$1.41 billion, according to estimates on FactSet.
Net interest income rose to S$2.13 billion from S$1.83 billion a year ago as the bank's net interest margin grew to 1.83% in the first three months from 1.74%. Customer loans during the quarter rose 10% from a year ago to S$328.22 billion.
Income from fees and commissions grew 12% on year to S$744 million. Total income from operations was at S$3.36 billion from S$2.89 billion in the first quarter of last year.
Expenses rose 12% to about S$1.40 billion from S$1.25 billion a year ago, DBS said.
The bank's ratio of nonperforming loans rose to 1.6% in the first quarter versus 1.4% last year. It was at 1.7% in the fourth quarter of last year.
While keeping a watchful eye on potential geopolitical trade tensions, DBS Group Chief Executive Piyush Gupta said he expects the region's economic fundamentals to remain sound, something that bodes well for the lender's loan growth outlook.
"Our pipeline is healthy and we expect to continue capturing business opportunities and delivering shareholder returns in the coming year," he added.
--Write to Saurabh Chaturvedi at email@example.com