Los Angeles Business Journal

East West’s Quarter Beats Expectations

By Deborah Crowe Originally published October 19, 2011 at 3:53 p.m., updated October 20, 2011 at 10:39 a.m.

East West Bancorp Inc. late Wednesday raised its full-year earnings guidance and reported third quarter profit and revenue that was better than Wall Street expected.

After the markets closed, the Pasadena holding company of East West Bank reported net income of $60.7 million (41 cents a share), compared with $40.2 million (27 cents) in the same period a year earlier. Net revenue was $224 million.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters on average expected profit of 39 cents a share on revenue of $205 million.

The bank’s provision for loan losses fell 17 percent to $22 million, with nonperforming assets down 7 percent. Net interest income rose 4.6 percent to nearly $238 million despite continuing low interest rates. The bank, however, recorded a non-interest loss of $13.5 million. Contributing to that loss were penalties paid to the Federal Home Loan Bank System for early retirement of debt that had funded East West mortgage loans.

For the current quarter, East West expects earnings in a range of 40 to 41 cents a share, in line with the Wall Street consensus of 41 cents. The company raised its full year earnings guidance to a range of $1.57 to $1.58 a share, compared with an earlier $1.52 to $1.54 a share. Wall Street consensus is $1.54.

“Although the prolonged low interest rate environment poses challenges for all financial institutions, our third quarter results show that East West continues to rise above its peers,” said Chief Executive Dominic Ng in a statement.

Shares on Thursday rose 50 cents, or 3 percent, to $17.28 in midday trading on the Nasdaq.