Royal Bank raises dividend by 6%
First-quarter profits slips from year earlier, but beats expectations
The Canadian Press
Posted: Mar 1, 2012 6:59 AM ET
Last Updated: Apr 3, 2012 9:00 AM ET
Royal Bank of Canada is raising its dividend six per cent, as it reports profits fell in the first quarter, affected partly by dramatically lower earnings in its capital markets division.
Canada's biggest bank said Thursday its quarterly dividend would rise three cents to 57 cents.
Royal Bank's net income fell five per cent to $1.86 billion, or $1.21 per share, versus $1.95 billion or $1.27 per share, at the same time last year.
The results beat analyst expectations on a cash diluted basis of $1.25 per share, compared to consensus expectations of $1.13, according to Thomson Reuters.
Revenue increased five per cent to $7.57 billion from $7.22 billion.
Royal Bank said profits were down as business growth in Canadian Banking and Insurance, and stable credit quality were offset by lower earnings in its capital markets operations.
The capital markets operation recorded net income of $448 million, a decrease of $189 million from a year ago, largely due to lower trading results and lower origination activity compared to record earnings in the previous year.
Moody's debt rating agency placed Royal Bank under review for a possible downgrade earlier this month, but did not put the bank's covered bond ratings on review.
The Royal Bank has said it does not believe it deserves to be among a group of the world's largest banks whose credit ratings have been placed under review by Moody's because of their exposure to the global capital markets business.
Besides the Royal Bank, other banks in line for possible downgrades include Citigroup, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley.
Royal Bank earned a record $6.7 billion from its continuing operations last year, while total net income dropped to $4.85 billion from $5.22 billion in 2010 due to a writedown related to the sale of its U.S. retail banking operations. Revenue grew to $27.43 billion from $26.08 billion.
It is the country's largest bank by assets and market capitalization and has 77,000 employees serving more than 18 million clients. The bank has operations across North America and in 52 other countries.
Royal Bank operates under the RBC Bank banner in the U.S., with more than 400 branches throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Florida and Alabama.
The banks were formerly part of the Centura and other brands that were acquired by Royal starting a decade ago. However, the Canadian bank's rapid expansion struck a major hurdle when the U.S. housing bubble burst and hit mortgage markets hard in southern U.S. states where the former Centura bank operated.
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