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Scotiabank kicks off big bank earnings with dividend hike

People are seen entering and leaving a Scotiabank branch in Toronto on Thursday, April 9, 2015. The Bank of Nova Scotia's chief economist says it's unlikely a recession will hit Canada's economy. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Scotiabank raised its quarterly dividend Tuesday as it reported a fourth-quarter profit that rose compared with a year ago and beat expectations.

The first big Canadian bank to report its fourth-quarter results said it will now pay a quarterly dividend of $1 per share, up from 90 cents. Scotiabank also announced plans to buy back up to 24 million of its shares.

The increased payment to shareholders and share buyback plan follow a decision by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions earlier this month to lift COVID-19-related restrictions and allow federally regulated banks and insurers to increase dividends, resume share buybacks and raise executive compensation.

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Scotiabank said its net income totalled nearly $2.6 billion or $1.97 per diluted share for the quarter ended Oct. 31, up from $1.9 billion or $1.42 per diluted share in the same quarter last year.

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Revenue totalled nearly $7.7 billion, up from $7.5 billion a year ago.

On an adjusted basis, Scotiabank said it earned $2.10 per diluted share, up from an adjusted profit of $1.45 per diluted share in its fourth quarter last year.

Analysts on average had expected Scotiabank to earn an adjusted profit of $1.90 per share, according to data compiled by financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

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“We ended the year with strong fourth-quarter earnings and exceeded our medium-term financial targets in fiscal 2021,” Scotiabank chief executive Brian Porter said in a statement.

“Our diversified business model demonstrated its resilience through the pandemic, and the bank is well positioned to achieve its full earnings power in the upcoming year.”

The increase in profit came as the bank’s provisions for credit losses fell to $168 million in its fourth quarter, compared with $1.13 billion in the same quarter last year and $380 million in its third quarter.

Scotiabank said its Canadian banking operations earned $1.2 billion, up from $778 million in the same quarter last year.

International banking operations earned $528 million, up from $263 million a year ago, while global wealth managing earned $385 million, up from $323 million. Global banking and markets earned $502 million, up from $460 million.

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For its full financial year, Scotiabank said it earned nearly $10 billion or $7.70 per diluted share on $31.3 billion in revenue, up from a profit of nearly $6.9 billion or $5.30 per diluted share on $31.3 billion in revenue a year earlier.

Scotiabank’s adjusted profit for the full year totalled $7.87 per diluted share, up from $5.36 per diluted share.

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