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RBC hikes quarterly dividend 11% despite fourth-quarter profit miss

The RBC Royal Bank of Canada logo is seen in Halifax on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. Fourth-quarter results at Royal Bank of Canada edged lower compared with a year ago and fell short of analysts' expectations. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Royal Bank of Canada raised its dividend as it reported a fourth-quarter profit of $3.9 billion, up from $3.2 billion in the same quarter last year.

The bank said Wednesday it will now pay a quarterly dividend of $1.20 per share, up from $1.08 per share. It also says it plans to buy back up to 45 million of its shares.

The move follows a decision by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions last month to lift restrictions put in place at the start of the pandemic that prevented federally regulated banks and insurers from raising dividends, buying back shares and raising executive compensation.

RBC says its profit amounted to $2.68 per diluted share for the quarter ended Oct. 31, up from $2.23 per diluted share a year ago. Revenue totalled $12.4 billion, up from $11.1 billion in the same quarter last year.

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“Across our businesses, we saw elevated growth in client activity and our teams responded with differentiated ideas and offerings to meet our clients’ needs and create long-term value,” RBC chief executive Dave McKay said in a statement.

“As a result, our overall performance in 2021 reflected strong earnings, premium shareholder performance, and highlighted our ability to successfully navigate a complex operating environment while continuing to invest in talent and innovations to support future growth.”

On an adjusted basis, RBC said its adjusted profit amounted to $2.71 per diluted share, up from $2.27 per diluted share in the same quarter a year earlier.

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Analysts on average had expected an adjusted profit of $2.81 per share, according to estimates compiled by financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

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The result came as RBC reversed $277 million in its provisions for credit losses in the quarter compared with the $427 million it set aside for bad loans in the same quarter last year.

For its fourth quarter, RBC said its personal and commercial banking business earned $2 billion, up from $1.5 billion in the same quarter a year ago, while its wealth management business earned $558 million, up from $546 million in the same quarter last year.

RBC’s insurance business earned $267 million in its fourth quarter, up from $254 million a year ago, while its capital markets business earned $920 million, up from $840 million. Investor and treasury services earned $109 million, up from a profit of $91 million a year ago.

For its full year, RBC said it earned $16.1 billion or $11.06 per diluted share on $49.7 billion in revenue, up from a profit of $11.4 billion or $7.82 per diluted share on $47.2 billion in revenue in the same period a year earlier.

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