December 4, 2008 / 4:47 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-Canadian Western Bank lowers 2009 expectations

* Issues more modest fiscal 2009 targets

* Says global economic crisis to weigh on results

* Q4 profit drops 17 percent; shares stumble (Updated throughout)

By Frank Pingue

TORONTO, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Canadian Western Bank (CWB.TO) blamed the global economic crisis for its more modest 2009 revenue growth target, which along with a lower quarterly profit sent its shares down more than 9 percent on Thursday.

Speaking on a conference call to discuss the bank’s fourth-quarter results, Chief Executive Larry Pollock said that the global financial volatility and economic woes will likely be a drag on its performance in fiscal 2009.

“We expect ongoing market turmoil and a very uncertain global economic outlook will continue to have an impact on the bank’s revenue growth,” Pollock said. “Revenue, earnings and profitability measures will continue to be negatively affected until market volatility subsides.”

Shares of Canadian Western were down 9.4 percent at C$13.77 by late morning on the Toronto Stock Exchange Canadian Western is the worst performing bank stock in Canada so far this year.

Canadian Western said it expects revenue growth on a tax equivalent basis of 5 percent to 8 percent for 2009. That is down from a 9 percent rise in revenue for fiscal 2008, which missed its target for growth of 17 percent.

The regional bank, Canada’s seventh-largest by market value, said net income for 2009 would rise anywhere between 2 percent and 5 percent. That is down from a 6 percent rise in net income for 2008, which also missed its target for growth of 15 percent.

Loan growth for 2009 is currently pegged at 10 percent, down from 16 percent in fiscal 2008.

The bank said its target ranges for 2009 reflect its expectations for solid loan growth and good overall performance relative to the adverse market conditions and a very uncertain global economic outlook.

Merrill Lynch research analyst Sumit Malhotra said Canadian Western Bank’s 2009 target pegs earnings per share to be in a range C$1.60 to C$1.65.

Ahead of the bank’s quarterly results, Malhotra’s earnings per share target for the bank for 2009 was C$1.63 while the average 2009 earnings per share estimate was C$1.77.

EARNINGS SLIDE 17 PERCENT

Canadian Western reported late on Wednesday that its fourth-quarter profit slipped 17 percent as it dealt with the global financial crisis that has many market experts forecasting a recession in Canada.

The bank, based in Edmonton, Alberta, said it earned C$24.5 million ($19.3 million), or 38 Canadian cents a share, for the quarter ended Oct. 31. That compared with a profit of C$29.6 million, or 46 Canadian cents a share, a year earlier.

Analysts had expected earnings of 41 Canadian cents a share, excluding items, according to Reuters Estimates.

Revenue slipped 0.4 percent to C$72.5 million, while loan growth rose 6 percent. (Additional reporting by Scott Anderson; editing by Rob Wilson)

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