UPDATE 1-Toronto-Dominion Bank reports weaker-than-expected profit

Thu Dec 4, 2014 8:01am EST
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(Adds interview with chief financial officer, further results data)

By Jeffrey Hodgson

TORONTO Dec 4 (Reuters) - Toronto-Dominion Bank reported a weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter profit on Thursday, even as its revenue and earnings rose, and said it expects a more challenging operating environment in 2015.

Canada's second-largest lender said its net income rose to C$1.75 billion ($1.54 billion), or 91 Canadian cents per share, in the fourth quarter ended Oct. 31, from C$1.62 billion, or 84 Canadian cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding special items, earnings were 98 Canadian cents a share. Analysts had expected C$1.05 per share, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Chief Executive Bharat Masrani said in the earnings statement that looking to 2015, he expects the operating environment to be more challenging and the bank would focus on organic growth.

Those challenges include slow economic growth in Canada and sustained low interest rates, said Colleen Johnston, TD Bank's chief financial officer.

She noted the bank's 2014 results were also boosted by acquisitions, a weaker Canadian dollar that increased the value of U.S. earnings, and a decline in credit losses.

"Next year we would expect credit losses to rise in line with volume growth," she told Reuters.   Continued...