MANILA -- Security Bank Corporation (PSE: SECB), a leading universal bank in terms of industry-best return on equity, disclosed Wednesday a net income of P1.8 billion, 30 percent higher vis-à-vis the same period in 2009.

The increase is consistent with the 32 percent compound annual growth rate in net income over the past five years.

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The bank's ROE registered an industry-high of 19.4 percent with Return on Assets (ROA) at 2.6 percent.

The bank's results for the first six months were underscored by an 11 percent growth in its revenues. With expansions seen in the balance sheet alongside improvements in the loan portfolio, the bank's net interest margin improved 20 bps to 4.5 percent.

Meanwhile, non-interest income sources contributed P1.4 billion for the first semester of 2010 reflecting a 33 percent annual growth. This performance can be attributed to the combined improvement in trading and Forex gains, which stood at P773.7 million, a 107.9 percent over the same period in 2009.

Security Bank Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer, Alberto S. Villarosa, remarked on the first semester 2010 results: "We appear to be very well on track to meet consensus full year profit estimates. The endeavors we have taken to judiciously expand our core revenues and business franchise have been instrumental in sustaining our growth momentum. With expectations of an improved fiscal environment, we are bullish with the outlook for economic growth and we are confident that we will steadily work our way towards achieving our full year targets."

Year-to-date operating expenses, excluding provision for credit and impairment losses, registered P2.1 billion, only slightly up by 4.6 percent or P92.3 million from the comparative period last year, arising from a combination of investments in the bank's workforce and miscellaneous expenses.

The bank's balance sheet continues to remain strong. The Non-performing loans (NPL) ratio remains to be at industry-low 1.4 percent with a corresponding NPL cover of 277 percent. Capital remains strong likewise with a total Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) of 18.4 percent and Tier 1 CAR of 15.5 percent for the first semester of 2010.

To date, Security Bank Corporation share price stood at P71 per share from the P54 recorded at the start of the year, a 30 percent increase. The bank has sustained its operating efficiency levels to remain one of the most stable and profitable in the industry. It operates through a network of 126 branches in strategic locations nationwide with 167 Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) operating under Bancnet's expansive countrywide network of ATMs. (PR)