TORONTO - Bank of Nova Scotia (TSX:BNS) earned $1.5 billion in its fourth quarter, a 31 per cent increase over the same time last year, to cap a record annual profit for the bank in 2012.
Scotiabank was the last of Canada's big banks to release their financial results for a quarter that saw increased profits across the board.
Despite that, there has been some concern that the banks' earnings will be under pressure next year as the North American and world economy feel the effects of uncertainty in Europe and the United States.
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"Scotiabank had strong overall results this year with record net income and revenues and very good contributions from each of our four business lines," Scotiabank chief executive Rick Waugh said in a statement.
"The bank is well positioned to continue to deliver growth in all business lines."
Scotiabank's fourth-quarter profit amounted to $1.18 per diluted share on $4.86 billion in total revenue, up from a profit of $1.2 billion or 97 cents per share on $4.23 billion in revenue a year ago.
On an adjusted basis, the bank reported a profit of $1.21 per share, up from $1 per share in the same quarter last year.
The average analyst expectation was for $1.18 in adjusted earnings per share and revenue of $4.79 billion, according to estimates compiled by Thomson Reuters.
Waugh noted that Scotiabank's four main business lines will now report to Brian Porter, who was named Scotiabank's president in October — widely seen as part of the bank's planning for an orderly transition to a new executive leadership.
Scotiabank is Canada's most international bank and, as group head for international banking, Porter oversaw all of its personal, small business and commercial banking operations in more than 55 countries outside of Canada.
Canadian banking at Scotiabank earned $481 million, up from $419 million in the quarter, while international banking earned $453 million, up from $371 million.
Global wealth management earned $300 million, up from $262 million, while Global banking and markets earned $396 million compared with $243 million.
Provisions for credit losses at the quarter amounted to $321 million, up from $281 million a year ago, due in part to an increase at Scotiabank's international operations.
For the 2012 financial year ended Oct. 31, the bank earned nearly $6.5 billion or $5.22 per share, up from $5.33 billion or $4.53 per share the previous year.
Revenue was $19.7 billion, up from $17.3 billion in 2011.
The bank closed a deal last month to buy ING Bank of Canada from its Dutch parent company for $3.13-billion deal.
The agreement beefed up Scotiabank's domestic position.
ING Direct is expected to operate separately and maintain its 1,000 employees under the deal, however the name is expected to eventually change.
Best known for its no-fee savings accounts and paying higher interest rates than most, the company also has a $30-billion loan portfolio, mostly in residential mortgages.