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No. of Recommendations: 5

4Q17 & FY17 Highlights Reported results:

- Profit for the 4Q17 and FY17 totaled $20.6 million (+1% QoQ, +54% YoY) and $82.0 million (-6% YoY), respectively.

- 4Q17 results were positively impacted on a sequential quarterly basis by increased fees (+59%) mostly from two successfully closed syndicated transactions...

- YoY quarterly results benefited mostly from lower provision charges for expected credit losses..

- 2017 annual results were 23% lower, impacted by lower average loan volumes and margins, as the Bank de-risked and diversified its portfolio mix, and shortened its average loan tenors. This decline was partly compensated by a 45% increase in Net Other income....

- Total Operating expenses were up 2% for the year. Recurring operating expenses were actually down 4% YoY, as personnel changes nonrecurring expenses resulted in $3.2 million in charges for 2017.

Key performance metrics:

- 2017 Return on Average Equity (“ROAE”) stood at 8.0%, compared to 8.8% a year ago, as the result of lower profits for 2017 and strong levels of capitalization. Annualized ROAE was 7.9% in 4Q17, unchanged from the 3Q17 and up from 5.3% in 4Q16, on YoY higher profits

- The Efficiency Ratio reached 38% in 4Q17 (+6 pt. QoQ, +10 pts. YoY), and 34% for FY17 (+7 pts. YoY)......

Mr. Rubens V. Amaral Jr., Bladex's Chief Executive Officer had a lot to say as this is likely his final conference call as he is stepping down on April 30, 2018.

We are looking for a smooth, well planned transition in CEO.

Mr. Rubens V. Amaral Jr., Bladex's Chief Executive Officer, stated the following regarding the Bank's 4Q17 and FY17 results:

"2017 proved yet another challenging year for Bladex.
Nevertheless, the fourth quarter has confirmed the positive trends of our business as alluded to in the third quarter's earnings release.
We increased the end-of-period portfolio balances reversing a stretch of declining activity in previous quarters. Fee income increased in 2017, and we delivered a ROE of 8.0% for the year. The projections for 2018 for economic growth in Latin America have been revised up by the World Bank and the IMF which bodes well for our business this year.

Our credit quality remains resilient, with NPL levels reduced to 1.07% of total loans at the end of the year, as the Bank continued to finalize agreements on a limited number of exposures that have been closely monitored and had undergone restructuring negotiations for several quarters. During the fourth quarter, the Bank successfully collected a remaining deteriorated exposure in Panama, and wrote off certain non-performing exposures against existing specific provisions.

On the other hand, we have adjusted the size of the Bank to reflect the reality of our business, and our determination to improve productivity and efficiency across the organization. This organizational restructuring produced a non-recurring impact on our operating expenses in the fourth quarter related to severance costs. We are confident that with a leaner organization and more efficient processes we have positioned the Bank to achieve our target of excellence throughout the organization, setting the basis to return to higher levels of profitability.

Our Board of Directors approved to maintain a dividend of US$ 0.385 for the fourth quarter confirming their favorable view of our financial strength and our ability to resume portfolio growth with sustainable double-digit ROEs moving forward. The Bank has a cleaner and stronger balance sheet and has left behind a negative credit cycle which impacted our financial performance in the last two years, and it is ready to resume growth on a sustainable basis." Mr. Amaral concluded.

Steadily increasing book value is good :

This 4th quarter Book value is up

Book value (period average) of $26.00 ended December 2017 compared to December 2016 of 25.42
Book value (period end) of 26.45 ended December 2917 compared to December 31, 2016 of 25.83

Third quarter book value:
Book value (period average) went up to 25.93 from 25.30 a year ago
Book value (period end) went up to 26.21 from 25.81 a year ago

Second Quarter Book Value:
Book value (period average) went up to 25.89 from 25.18 a year ago
Book value (period end) went up to 26.02 from 25.38 a year ago

First Quarter Book Value:
Book value (period average) went up to 25.83 from 25.06 a year ago
Book value (period end) went up to 25.97 from 25.18 a year ago

Though missing expectations by a smidge each quarter this year is holding the stock price down.

The analysts expected more:

Q4 EPS of $0.52 misses by $0.03.

Revenue of $34.5M (-20.1% Y/Y) misses by $0.57M.
(Thanks to seeking alpha ststs)


Fool ommmm , kevin c
your Foolish neighborhood BLX ticker guide
long of BLX
please click my screen name for disclosed holdings
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