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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, October 18, 2001

BancWest enjoys healthy quarter

By Frank Cho
Advertiser Staff Writer

BancWest Corp., parent company of First Hawaiian Bank, said third-quarter profits jumped 12 percent from a year ago, reflecting higher income from fees and service charges.

Hawai'i's biggest financial services company in terms of total assets said net income for the quarter ended Sept. 30 rose to $63.6 million, from $56.8 million in the year earlier period.

Earnings of 50 cents per share were up 11.1 percent from 45 cents.

"Considering the slowing of our regional economy, compounded by the fallout from the tragic events of Sept. 11, this was another remarkable quarter of growth at BancWest," Walter Dods, BancWest's chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.

BancWest's earnings were in line with analyst forecasts of between 48 and 50 cents per share.

BNP Paribas is in the process of acquiring BancWest for $2.5 billion. Earlier this year the Paris-based bank, largest in France, offered shareholders $35 a share for the 55 percent of BancWest stock it did not own. Stockholders overwhelmingly approved the buyout offer during the quarter.

The deal, still subject to federal regulatory approvals, is scheduled to close in the next few weeks. At that point all outstanding BancWest shares, minus those held by BNP Paribas, will be converted into the right to receive a $35-per-share cash payment. The company also plans to pay a pro-rated quarterly dividend as of the day before the deal closes.

For the first three quarters, net income rose 19.4 percent to $191.3 million, up from $160.2 million a year ago.

Cash earnings for the quarter were $73 million, a 12.3 percent jump from $65 million in the same quarter a year ago. For the first nine months, cash earnings climbed 18.5 percent to $218.9 million, up from $184.8 million for the same period in 2000.

Nonperforming assets were $126 million, or 0.85 percent of loans, at the end of the third quarter, slightly better than 0.86 percent at the end of 2000 and 0.88 percent during the same quarter a year ago.

But net charge-offs grew to an annualized rate of 1.51 percent of average total loans and leases, compared with 0.38 percent a year ago. The company said the increase was from losses on syndicated credit sold on the secondary market and charge-offs on certain agricultural loans.

Dods noted that changing national and global economic conditions will increase the probability of losses, but the bank has not identified any specific problems in its loan portfolio.

BancWest's total assets increased to $19.8 billion, up 9.9 percent from $18 billion a year ago. Loans totaled $14.9 billion, up 9.9 percent, and deposits increased to $14.7 billion, up 6 percent from the previous year.

Reach Frank Cho at 525-8088 or fcho@honoluluadvertiser.com.