Popular Inc. closed 2018 with significant year-over-year increases in its net and adjusted income, according to its quarterly earnings report.
For the 12-month period ended Dec. 31, 2018, adjusted net income was $487 million, up 76 percent from the prior year’s adjusted net income of $276 million. Net income for 2018 totaled $618.2 million, a 477 percent jump when compared to $107.7 million in 2017, according to the earnings statement.
In 2017, Banco Popular de Puerto Rico’s parent company of felt the negative effects of the Hurricane María, while in 2018, it benefited from deposit growth and higher interest rates as well as the additional business related to the acquisition of Reliable Auto.
For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2018, the financial institution reported a net income of $106.4 million and an adjusted net income of $134.1 million for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2018, compared to a net income of $140.6 million for the third quarter ended September 30, 2018.
“We are very pleased with our performance in the fourth quarter, which allowed us to finish the year on a strong note,” Popular Inc. President Ignacio Álvarez said. “These results include the impact of a number of corporate initiatives that increased expenses for the quarter, but continue to reflect strong top line growth, improving margins and the continuing contribution to income from the Reliable transaction.”
“We begin 2019 with enthusiasm as we build on the momentum created in 2018 and leverage the strength of our balance sheet and unique franchise to continue to drive shareholder value,” he said.
Coupled with the earnings report, Popular Inc. announced a two-pronged strategy for its capital plan for 2019: an increase its quarterly common stock dividend from $0.25 per share to $0.30 per share, beginning in the second quarter of 2019, and up to $250 million in common stock repurchases.
“These capital actions evidence the strength of Popular’s capital position, which allows us to return capital to our shareholders as we invest in our franchise to ensure its continued success in the future,” said Álvarez.
In its report, Popular Inc. noted several events that had an effect on its results:
- The Puerto Rico Tax Reform that went into effect in December 2018 and that reduced the corporate income tax rate from 39 percent to 37.5 percent;
- A payout of incentive payments to employees through the profit-sharing plan established in 2016; a Voluntary Retirement Program that will represent $19.5 million in costs related to compensation payments for participants;
- The acquisition of $1.6 billion in retail auto loans and $341 million in primarily auto-related commercial loans from Wells Fargo & Company’s auto finance business in Puerto Rico, known as Reliable. For the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2018, the acquisition of Reliable contributed approximately $18 million to net income, compared to $11.7 million for the previous quarter;
- The redemption of $450 million in aggregate principal amount of its outstanding 7.00% Senior Notes due 2019, which took place in October 2018; and,
- The completion of a $125 million accelerated share repurchase transaction with respect to its common stock.