The First Citizens Group has recorded a profit after tax for first six month of the 2020 financial year of $404.4 million a 2.4 per cent increase of 2.4 per when compared to same period last year.
For the three-month period ended March 31, 2020, the First Citizens recorded profit after tax of $181.7 million, but the institution’s chairman Anthony Smart said the impact of COVID-19 would be reflected in the organisation’s third quarter results onwards.
In First Citizens’ report of its financial statements, Smart said: “The IMF predicts that the global economy will shrink by at least three per cent this year. It is clear that this pandemic will negatively impact the group’s overall financial performance from as early as April 2020 and beyond.”
Smart also explained that the recent Standard and Poor’s downgrade of T&T’s Sovereign credit ratings to BBB- has had a knock on effect on First Citizens Bank’s rating which is now also rated BBB-.
The bank’s chairman also indicated that while there is great uncertainty about the duration of the pandemic, the financial system has already felt a dramatic impact and a further intensification of the crisis could affect global financial stability.
In spite of this the organization has diverged from the decision making stance on dividends that many companies have announced. Smart said: “Internationally and locally, it has been reported that some companies have opted to suspend dividend payments because of economic uncertainty which they anticipate will result in a decline in business generally.”
He continued to note that First Citizens recognised the need for a balanced approach out of consideration for its shareholders while ensuring organisational sustainability; and therefore has decided to declare a second interim dividend of $0.28 per ordinary share.
This brings the total interim dividend for the six-month period to $ 0.72 per share (corresponding period last year was $0.84). The second interim dividend will be paid on June 5, 2020 to shareholders on record as at May 21, 2020.
The group’s total assets stood at $45.6 billion as at March 2020, which represents an increase of 5.1 per cent when compared to September 2019. Smart expressed that the stable performance for the company’s half year was underpinned by the performance of the banking operations, supported by expense management strategies.
Smart noted that in spite of the substantial uncertainty which this crisis has brought into people’s lives and livelihoods, coupled with contraction of economic activity, First Citizens is committed to working with all its customers through this challenging period.