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BCB full-year earnings slide 13%

Bermuda Commercial Bank (BCB) yesterday posted $8 million in net income in the year ended September 30.

The figure, stated in the financial results of BCB's parent company Somers Ltd, is down $1.2 million, or 13 per cent, on the previous year.

Somers' Waverton Investment Management arm, a UK wealth manager in which the firm has a 62.5 per cent holding and which has $4.3 billion in managed assets, reported pre-tax income of $13.53 million (£9.1 million) down from $14.1 million (£9.5 million) in 2014.

Somers, which has a 68 per cent stake in the London-listed asset financing company Private & Commercial Finance Group (PCFG), said its profits were up 80 per cent to $2.23 million for the six months to the end of September.

Warren McLeland, chairman of Somers, said: “Somers' primary markets are the UK and Bermuda which together account for almost 98 per cent of our portfolio.

“Both jurisdictions underperformed in 2015 with the UK's FTSE 100, one of our primary benchmarks, down 8.5 per cent.

“Somers was not immune to this downturn and our 2015 results were impacted by valuation reductions at our two largest holdings, BCB and Waverton.”

But he added: “Offsetting this, two more of our UK investments, PCFG and Ascot Lloyd, achieved strong growth for the year.

“Our investment weighting in these companies is, however, at a relatively lower level and the net overall result was a decrease in Somers' net asset value to $17.74 per share from $18.96 a year ago.”

Mr McLeland added that BCB was going through a period of investment in its infrastructure and Waverton had been by the fall in UK equity markets during the year.

But he said: “Despite this, both companies returned strong profits for 2015, albeit slightly below 2014 levels.”

He added: “Over the course of the year, BCB's board and management team has been strengthened and post the year end, the bank successfully launched its new core banking system.

“This will allow the bank to broaden its product offering and become more customer-centric enabling the bank to compete for an increased market share.”

Mr McLeland said that the carrying value of Somers' investment in Waverton was reduced on account of lower earnings and reduced assets under management resulting from the transfer of one of the Waverton funds.

He added that Waverton, PCFG and Ascot Lloyd were all denominated in sterling, which declined 6.7 per cent against the US dollar over the year, leading to a $6.7 million reduction in net asset value.

Mr McLeland said that investment activity to the year end was low, with the main transactions being the acquisition of shares in West Hamilton Holdings, a property and investment firm, from BCB and the sale of holdings in PCFG to BCB.

Somers also invested a further $5.95 million (£4 million) in Ascot Lloyd.

Mr McLeland said: “THE PCFG transaction enables BCB to diversify and strengthen its earnings, improve its capital efficiency and diversify its geographic risk.

“BCB can assist PCFG in growing its loan book and PCFG will benefit from the strong and liquid balance sheet that a bank majority owner provides.

“Somers' acquisition of the West Hamilton shares consolidates the group's share ownership in West Hamilton under one roof.”

Valuation impact: BCB's profits fell by $1.2 million compared to last year

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Published December 24, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated December 23, 2015 at 8:50 pm)

BCB full-year earnings slide 13%

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