Maybank Investment Bank Research said RHB Bank’s common equity Tier-1 (CET1) capital ratio was 16.3% at the group level and 15.1% at the bank level as at end-September 2020, making it the highest ratio in the industry. PETALING JAYA: RHB Bank Bhd’s strong capital ratios could translate to better dividends than estimated, with the bank’s proposed dividend reinvestment plan (DRP) potentially leading to better future payouts. Maybank Investment Bank Research (Maybank IB) in a report yesterday said RHB’s common equity Tier-1 (CET1) capital ratio was 16.3% at the group level and 15.1% at the bank level as at end-September 2020, making it the highest ratio in the industry. “Its regulatory reserves have reduced from RM543mil as at end-June 2020 to RM207mil as at end-September, but this will add on another 20 basis points to capital, by our estimates. “Recall RHB declared an interim dividend per share of 10 sen in December 2020. We have conservatively assumed a payout ratio of 40% in 2020 (50% in 2019) which translates to 19.9 sen. Its DRP proposal is still pending Bank Negara approval at this stage.” CET1 ratio compares a bank’s capital against its risk-weighted assets to determine its ability to withstand financial distress. RHB’s high ratios place the bank in a strong position to weather through the presently volatile economic environment both domestically and abroad, said Maybank IB. The research house said it is maintaining RHB’s 2020 earnings forecast, but expects a lower 2021 net profit estimate of 3% on higher credit cost assumptions. “Nevertheless, our valuations are rolled forward to 2022 and our target price is raised to RM6.50 on an unchanged price-to book value of 0.9-times. “RHB displays no exceptional risks not typical of a large bank for environmental, social and corporate governance. The group’s earnings are principally driven by its domestic operations and to a smaller extent Singapore, while regional contributions are relatively insignificant at this stage. This domestic concentration reduces its overall environment and corporate governance issues, in our view.” Maybank IB said RHB’s loans under targeted assistance (TA) have risen to about RM22bil (14% of total loans) from about RM17bil (10%) in November 2020, with retail, commercial and corporate loans making up 66%, 19% and 15% respectively. “The B40 group accounts for about 14% of its retail loans. Positively though, 14% loans under TA is lower than management’s earlier assessment of 16%.” B40 refers to the bottom tier income earners, which account for 40% of the country’s total income. Separately, Maybank IB said further provisions against corporate loans can be anticipated. “The bank had earlier assessed that 23% of its corporate loans (about 60 accounts) may require some form of restructuring or rescheduling, with about 30 accounts restructured to date. At this stage, 2020 credit cost is still nevertheless expected to come in within management’s earlier guidance of between 40 and 50 basis points. “We maintain a credit cost of 47 basis points for 2020 but raise our 2021 credit cost to 40 basis points from 35 basis points. Our 2021 net profit forecast is trimmed by 3%.”
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