Republic Bank, Independence Square, Port-of-Spain.

Republic Financial Holdings Limited (RFHL) has recorded profit attributable to equity holders of the parent of $904.1 million for the year ended September 30, 2020.

This represents a decrease of $677.1 million or 42.8 per cent compared to the profit of $1.58 billion reported in the previous financial year.

In a release, the Chairman of RFHL, Vincent Pereira said: “These results are creditable despite reflecting the negative impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) mainly decreased economic activity.”

Pereira said that the negative influence of the virus was also seen in “lower margins due to reduced interest rates, waiver of fees and commissions under the COVID-19 relief initiatives, increased provisioning to cover potential future losses on the loan and investments portfolios, and impairment of the remaining Goodwill held in our Barbados subsidiary.”

The RFHL chairman went on to say that total assets stood at $104.3 billion at September 30, 2020, an increase of $16.8 billion or 19.2 per cent over that of the prior year.

He noted that the increase was primarily due to the acquisition of Scotiabank’s banking operations in St Maarten and the Eastern Caribbean (Anguilla, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines) on November 1, 2019.

The transaction, Pereira said, added $12.7 billion. He also noted that the acquisition of Scotiabank’s operations in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) on June 1st, 2020 added a further $ 3.1 billion to the Group’s asset base.

RFHL’s Board of Directors has declared a final dividend of $2.10 (2019: $3.25), which brings the total dividend to $439.8 million or $2.70 per share for the fiscal year (2019: $4.50).

According to Pereira, this represents a decrease of 40 per cent in total dividend payment, reflective of the decrease in profitability in the current fiscal year.

He explained that the combination of this dividend and the increase in the share price of $20.20 during the year, equates to a total shareholder return for the year of 18.5 per cent..

Pereira concluded: “While there continues to be uncertainty over the future direction and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are confident that the Group’s strong capital base, diverse geographic footprint and robust governance culture leaves it well positioned to support the recovery efforts of the economies within which we operate.”

The RFHL chairman noted that the group will continue to be responsive to the evolving needs of its customers and clients, provide safe working conditions for its employees and support the communities it serves.