RBTT records pre-tax earnings of US$192.3 million

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, May 25, 2007 – Peter J. July, Group Chairman, RBTT Financial Holdings Limited, has announced that the Group recorded pre-tax earnings of US$192.3 million, an increase of 6 per cent over the prior year’s profit of US$182.0 million. Profit attributable to shareholders increased by US$6.1 million or 4 per cent to US$151.8 million, with earnings per share moving from US$0.42 as restated to US$0.44, an increase of 5 per cent. Profit attributable to shareholders for the previous year was restated to include a prior year adjustment of US$2.1 million for deferred taxation.

He said, while there was good Balance Sheet improvement as reflected by asset growth of 16 per cent, a 14 per cent increase in loans, and a 19 per cent increase in deposits, there was only a marginal increase in net income primarily due to a contraction of the interest spread.

The Chairman also noted that the Retail & Commercial Banking Units performed well, increasing their profit contribution by 26 per cent. Investment Banking activities showed a moderately better earnings result this year (up 2 per cent).  However, earnings from the Trust & Asset management Units fell off by 30 per cent as compared with the prior year, primarily as a result of the decline in stock market activity in Trinidad and Tobago which impacted negatively on fee income.

“Over the past year, there has been ongoing speculation about the future of the RBTT Group, fueled by commentary in the media.  As a consequence, in the interest of transparency and market stability, we issued two public statements: the first in November 2006 and the second on April 15, 2007. At the time of writing this report, I wish to confirm that there is no change to the status of the matter as expressed in our latter statement.” July said.

“I reiterate that we continue to assess and to have discussions on a proposal received for a combination/partnership with another major financial institution.  We have not, at this time, made any decision as to whether or not we will recommend it to our shareholders.  We assure you, that as soon as there is any material development in this regard, we will make an announcement.”