Canadian Western Profit Increases 8.4%, Raises Dividend

Canadian Western Bank said second-quarter profit rose 8.4 percent, missing analysts’ estimates, as the Edmonton-based lender reported its 100th straight profitable quarter. The company raised its dividend.

Net income for the period ended April 30 climbed to C$43 million ($41.7 million), or 54 cents a share, from C$39.7 million, or 52 cents, a year earlier, the bank said today in a statement. Revenue increased 7.1 percent to C$136.9 million.

Canadian Western, led by Chief Executive Officer Christopher Fowler, has expanded its wealth-management business as it seeks to diversify beyond commercial and wholesale lending. In April, the bank agreed to buy a 55 percent stake in Calgary-based McLean & Partners Wealth Management Ltd., which has about C$1 billion of assets under management.

“Acquisitions have been an important part of our success,” Fowler said in the statement.

Adjusted earnings, which exclude some items, were 55 cents a share, missing the 57-cent average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The bank raised its quarterly dividend a penny to 18 cents a share.

“Compared to our above-consensus forecast, the lower than expected earnings were driven by expenses and margins,” Andre-Philippe Hardy, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, said in a note to clients.

Margins Squeezed

Net interest margin, the difference between what a bank pays for deposits and charges for loans, declined 16 basis points to 2.65 percent from a year earlier, according to the statement. Low interest rates and “ongoing competitive pressure” have squeezed margins, the bank said.

“This key measure will remain under pressure until we see some movement toward higher interest rates,” Fowler said.

Expenses rose 8.8 percent to C$64.8 million from a year earlier, led by an 11 percent increase in salaries and benefits, according to the statement.

Canadian Western slipped 0.8 percent to C$28.31 at 9:47 a.m. in Toronto. The shares have slid 0.5 percent this year, compared with the 0.8 percent decline of the eight-company Standard & Poor’s/TSX Commercial Banks Index.

(Canadian Western will host a conference call at 3 p.m. Toronto time. To listen, dial +1-647-427-7450 or +1-866-231-8191, passcode 65242639.)

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