TAIPEI (CNA) — Cathay Financial Holding Co. (國泰金控) was the top-earning Taiwanese company of its kind in January amid a significant rebound of profitability in the sector, according to market statistics.
In January, the aggregate net profit of the 15 financial holding firms listed on the local main board topped NT$30 billion (US$972 million), reversing a combined net loss of almost NT$6 billion in December that was caused by heavy foreign exchange and securities investment losses, the data showed.
Among the 15 financial holding companies, Cathay Financial posted NT$4.7 billion in net profit, or NT$0.37 per share, in January after its flagship arms, Cathay Life Insurance Co. and Cathay United Bank registered a net profit of NT$2.23 billion and NT$2.22 billion, respectively.
The January figure was a strong recovery from Cathay Financial’s NT$4.12 billion in net losses in December, the data showed.
In second place was Fubon Financial Holding Co. with NT$3.69 billion in net profit, or NT$0.36 in earnings per share, in January.
Its flagship Fubon Life Insurance Co. registered NT$10.52 million in net profit due to higher operating costs, but Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank recorded NT$2.82 billion in net profit.
Fubon Financial also reversed a net loss of NT$5.06 billion in December, while Fubon Life incurred NT$5.56 billion in net loss.
CTBC Financial Holding Co. reported the third highest net profit of NT$4.08 billion, or NT$0.21 per share, in January, ahead of Mega Financial Holding Co. (NT$0.20) and E. Sun Financial Holding Co. (NT$0.19).
Shin Kong Financial Holding Co. was sixth with an EPS of NT$0.18, followed by Taishin Financial Holding Co. and SinoPac Financial Holding Co. tied for seventh (NT$0.16).
The other companies were Yuanta Financial Holding Co. (NT$0.15 in EPS), Hua Nan Financial Holding Co. tied with First Financial Holding Co. (NT$0.14), Taiwan Cooperative Financial Holding Co. (NT$0.11), China Development Financial Holding Co. (NT$0.09), Waterland Financial Holding Co. (NT$0.07), and Jih Sun Financial Holding Co. (NT$0.05).
Market analysts said January was a good start to the year for the local financial holding companies and that the momentum is likely to continue if the U.S. Federal Reserve slows down its interest rate hike cycle.
Such a move by the Fed would reduce the risk of foreign exchange losses and help stabilize the bottom line of companies in the financial sector, analysts said.
By Han Ting-ting and Frances Huang