Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Daily news - 4 Nov

Hong Leong Fin reports 16.2% fall in Q3 profit
Hong Leong Finance yesterday said third quarter net profit fell 16.2 per cent to $30.9 million as it sold less loans and raised provisions in line with a slowing economy. Annualised earnings per share fell to 28.07 cents from 33.61 cents a year ago. Singapore is now in a technical recession following two quarters of contraction and the official forecast for 2008 growth has been revised downwards to 3 per cent from the previous 4 to 5 per cent. 'We have adopted an increasingly cautious stance in our local lending activity since the last quarter of 2007 with a consequential attrition in our loan book,' said Hong Leong Finance. The company only operates in Singapore and does not have any sub-prime, or derivative exposures, it said. 'Neither are we involved in asset securitisation or overseas involvement,' said Singapore's largest finance company. The company said net loans including hire purchase receivables at $7.6 billion was down 5.5 per cent and 1.8 per cent from Dec 31, 2007, and Sept 30, 2007, respectively. Deposits and customer savings accounts were flat at $8.2 billion. The firm raised provisions for doubtful debts to $1.7 million. In the year ago quarter, Hong Leong Finance had a writeback of $7.7 million. During the quarter under review, the firm sold a property with a capital gain of $2.2 million. Hong Leong Finance warned that it would continue to be cautious towards lending.

DBS launches credit card aimed at SME bosses
DBS – Undaunted by the climate of caution and belt-tightening among businesses, DBS has launched a credit card aimed at the SME bosses to help them with small savings while spending. Called the DBS World Business Card, it gives SME bosses unlimited free access to more than 300 airport lounges globally - even if they are flying economy. 'Although Asia has been affected by the US sub-prime crisis, leading SMEs continue to see opportunities in adversity,' said DBS enterprise banking head Edwin Khoo. 'As a bank that keeps faith with our customers through good times and bad, we believe in providing a full suite of banking solutions to meet all their banking needs.' Mr Khoo added that some entrepreneurs have had to use multiple cards for their entertainment expenses because the credit limit for personal credit cards is only double an individual's monthly salary. With the DBS World Business Card, the credit limit can be a flexible fraction of the full credit line that DBS extends to the company. The newly launched card also offers significant discounts at top hotels and renowned restaurants in Singapore and overseas. It charges an interest rate of 18 per cent.

Source: Kim Eng

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