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Press release from CNW Group

Equitable Group Reports Strong Growth in Third Quarter 2012 Earnings

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Equitable Group Reports Strong Growth in Third Quarter 2012 Earnings17:47 EST Tuesday, November 13, 2012TORONTO, Nov. 13, 2012 /CNW/ - Equitable Group Inc. (TSX: ETC and ETC.PR.A) ("Equitable" or the "Company") today reported record third quarter earnings for the three months ended September 30, 2012 on a $1 billion year-over-year increase in Core Lending mortgage principal.THIRD QUARTER SUMMARYNet income grew 58% to $21 million from $13 million in the third quarter of 2011; net income growth was 24% adjusted for an operational loss provision taken in Q3 2011Diluted earnings per share ("EPS") increased 62% to $1.33 from $0.82 in the third quarter of 2011, or 25% on an adjusted basisReturn on equity ("ROE") increased to 18.9% from 13.7% a year ago (adjusted ROE in 2011 was 17.6%)Core Lending mortgage principal reached $5 billion at the end of the third quarter, up by 25% over the prior yearBook value per share increased 19% to $28.69 from $24.02 at September 30, 2011Equitable Trust's period-end total capital ratio was 15.5%"This was another excellent period of performance punctuated by a 50% or $952 million year-over-year increase in Single Family mortgage principal, which Equitable delivered while keeping investment returns high, portfolio losses low and our capital ratios strong," said Andrew Moor, President and CEO. "Our mounting competitive strength on a national basis and responsiveness to market dynamics put us in an enviable position at this point in the real estate cycle."THIRD QUARTER OPERATING HIGHLIGHTSSingle Family Lending Services mortgage principal grew 50% to a record $2.8 billion at September 30 and represented 57% of Core Lending mortgage principal compared to 47% a year agoSingle Family Lending Services third quarter production of $494 million represented an increase of 27% over the third quarter of 2011, as Equitable's strategic emphasis on this core lending activity and changes in the competitive landscape combined to drive strong growthCommercial Lending Services mortgage principal was unchanged year over year at $2.2 billion at September 30. Third quarter production was $224 million, up from $156 million in the second quarter of 2012 and down 16% or $44 million from an exceptionally strong third quarter in 2011Core Lending mortgage principal (comprised of Single Family and Commercial Lending) amounted to $5 billion, up 25% or $1 billion year-over-year, while third quarter Core Lending production increased 9% year over year to $718 millionSecuritization Financing mortgage principal was $5.1 billion, 3% lower than a year ago, reflecting the Company's strategy to emphasize core lending activity over the past several quarters. In the third quarter, the Company originated $288 million and securitized $263 million of insured residential mortgages. Included in that amount, the Company successfully securitized $164 million of mortgages using a transaction structure that transferred the risks and rewards of the securitized assets to third parties. The Company was able to recognize $0.9 million of related gains on the securitizations that used this new structure for origination and sale.The Company continues to experience a low level of loan losses (net realized loan losses were $0.2 million in the third quarter of 2012) and posted solid credit metrics:Mortgages in arrears 90 days or more were 0.31% of total principal outstanding at quarter end compared to 0.24% a year earlier while early stage delinquencies - a leading indicator of losses - were the same as a year ago at 0.30% of total principalNet impaired mortgages were just 0.35% of total mortgage assets compared to 0.23% a year agoDIVIDEND DECLARATIONSThe Company's Board of Directors today declared a quarterly dividend in the amount of $0.14 per common share, payable January 3, 2013, to common shareholders of record at the close of business on December 14, 2012. This amount is consistent with the dividend increase announced last quarter and is 17% higher than the dividends declared in the third quarter of 2011. The Board also declared a quarterly dividend in the amount of $0.453125 per preferred share, payable December 31, 2012, to preferred shareholders of record at the close of business on December 14, 2012.NINE MONTH SUMMARYNet income increased 35% to a record $61.1 million from $45.2 million in the same nine month period of 2011Diluted EPS increased 37% to $3.85 from $2.81 in the same period of 2011ROE increased to 19.2% from 16.4% a year agoAdjusted for certain non-recurring items in 2011 and 2012, diluted EPS increased by 18% year-over-year. Similarly, adjusted ROE was 18.1% in the first nine months of 2012, compared with 17.7% for 2011.LOOKING AHEADEquitable is on track for another year of record earnings based on recent growth in the mortgage portfolio, relatively stable interest rate spreads (total NIM was 1.49% in the third quarter) and expectations of low realized loan losses. While it continues to closely monitor economic and credit market conditions and has prepared for softening in residential real estate prices through its responsive loan-to-value approach and other risk mitigation strategies, Equitable's outlook remains positive."In addition to new opportunities we've created for ourselves through our focus on customer and mortgage broker service leadership, we foresee added growth potential from two other developments," said Mr. Moor. "One, recent changes in the single family mortgage market may result in more self-employed borrowers seeking mortgages in the alternative lending channel. And two, we have developed a new approach to originate insured mortgages and securitize them. The new approach will allow us to resume growth in this part of our business. Combined, we expect to continue to capitalize on the expanded market available to us as a financially strong alternative mortgage lender."Subsequent to third quarter end, Equitable closed a private placement offering of $65 million of Series 10 5.399% debentures due October 23, 2017. As a result, the Company has secured capital in anticipation of upcoming maturities and in advance of new rules for capital instruments coming into effect for most Canadian financial institutions in 2013."This successful offering served to reinforce our already strong capital base," said Tim Wilson, Vice President and CFO, "and will deliver interest expense savings as existing debt is redeemed due to the 118 basis point lower coupon rate on this debt compared to the average of our existing debt. We are very confident that our current capital position combined with future earnings will provide us with the means to fully support our strategic objectives and ongoing growth."Q3 CONFERENCE CALLThe Company will hold its third quarter conference call and webcast at 10:00 a.m. ET Wednesday, November 14, 2012. To access the call live, please dial in five minutes prior to 416-644-3414. To access a listen-only version of the webcast, please log on to www.equitabletrust.com under Investor Relations. A replay of the call will be available until November 28, 2012 and it can be accessed by dialing 416-640-1917 and entering passcode 4566190 followed by the number sign. The webcast will also be archived on the Company's website for three months.INTERIM CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS                      CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS (unaudited)       AS AT SEPTEMBER 30, 2012      With comparative figures as at December 31, 2011, September 30, 2011($ THOUSANDS)                September 30, 2012December 31, 2011September 30, 2011       Assets      Cash and cash equivalents$356,082$170,845$173,122Restricted assets 99,874 83,156 80,050Securities purchased under reverse repurchase agreements 59,827 9,967 151,268Investments 467,108 390,340 398,736Mortgages receivable 5,063,558 4,262,147 4,121,858Mortgages receivable - securitized 5,157,960 5,314,940 5,301,081Securitization retained interests 2,199 -   -  Other assets 21,422 25,618 28,276 $11,228,030$10,257,013$10,254,391       Liabilities and Shareholders' Equity      Liabilities:         Deposits$5,546,360$4,627,904$4,671,138   Securitization liabilities 5,100,972 5,100,921 5,077,052   Obligations related to securities sold short 1,964 -  -     Deferred tax liabilities 6,402 7,790 7,930   Other liabilities 25,488 28,587 24,666   Bank term loans 12,500 12,500 12,500   Subordinated debentures 52,671 52,671 52,671  10,746,357 9,830,373 9,845,957       Shareholders' equity:         Preferred shares 48,494 48,494 48,494   Common shares 131,598 129,771 129,193   Contributed surplus 5,094 4,718 4,538   Retained earnings 306,629 254,006 239,689   Accumulated other comprehensive loss (10,142) (10,349) (13,480)  481,673 426,640 408,434        $11,228,030$10,257,013$10,254,391CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME (unaudited)    FOR THE THREE AND NINE MONTH PERIODS ENDED SEPTEMBER 30, 2012    With comparative figures for the three and nine month periods ended September 30, 2011    ($ THOUSANDS, EXCEPT PER SHARE AMOUNTS)                  Three months endedNine months ended September 30, 2012September 30, 2011September 30, 2012September 30, 2011         Interest income:             Mortgages$63,069$53,627$179,229$151,950     Mortgages - securitized 54,194 54,470 162,250 159,232     Investments 2,274 2,624 7,400 7,551     Other 1,445 977 4,011 3,244  120,982 111,698 352,890 321,977Interest expense:             Deposits 33,455 29,992 95,393 84,984     Securitization liabilities 45,802 45,757 138,651 135,136     Bank term loans 204 205 609 608     Subordinated debentures 878 880 2,615 2,612     Other 3 105 8 212  80,342 76,939 237,276 223,552Net interest income 40,640 34,759 115,614 98,425Provision for credit losses 1,872 1,991 5,792 6,146Net interest income after provision for credit losses 38,768 32,768 109,822 92,279Other income:             Fees and other income 983 925 2,969 2,569     Net gain on investments 389 121 692 108     Gains on securitization activities and income from        retained interests 857 -  857 -   2,229 1,046 4,518 2,677Net interest and other income 40,997 33,814 114,340 94,956Non-interest expenses:             Compensation and benefits 7,298 5,849 20,833 16,862     Other 5,401 9,895 16,093 17,746  12,699 15,744 36,926 34,608Income before income taxes and the undernoted fair value loss 28,298 18,070 77,414 60,348Fair value loss on derivative financial instruments -      securitization activities -  (368) (34) (1)Income before income taxes 28,298 17,702 77,380 60,347Income taxes:             Current 6,508 3,866 17,701 14,342     Deferred 736 473 (1,388) 844  7,244 4,339 16,313 15,186Net income$21,054$13,363$61,067$45,161         Earnings per share:             Basic$1.34$0.83$3.88$2.84     Diluted$1.33$0.82$3.85$2.81         CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME (unaudited)     FOR THE THREE AND NINE MONTH PERIODS ENDED SEPTEMBER 30, 2012      With comparative figures for the three and nine month periods ended September 30, 2011($ THOUSANDS)                  Three months endedNine months ended September 30, 2012September 30, 2011September 30, 2012September 30, 2011         Net income$21,054$13,363$61,067$45,161         Other comprehensive loss:                 Available for sale investments:        Net unrealized gains (losses) from change in fair value 1,387 (2,474) 1,438 (76)Reclassification of net gains to income (449) (256) (1,587) (246)  938 (2,730) (149) (322)Income tax (expense) recovery (245) 766 39 90  693 (1,964) (110) (232)         Cash flow hedges (Note 8)        Net unrealized losses from change in fair value (952) (12,982) (1,311) (16,457)Reclassification of net losses (gains) to income 602 (235) 1,741 (248)  (350) (13,217) 430 (16,705)Income tax recovery (expense) 90 3,707 (113) 4,686  (260) (9,510) 317 (12,019)Total other comprehensive gain (loss) 433 (11,474) 207 (12,251)Total comprehensive income$21,487$1,889$61,274$32,910CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CHANGES IN SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY (unaudited)     FOR THE THREE MONTH PERIOD ENDED SEPTEMBER 30, 2012       With comparative figures for the three month period ended September 30, 2011       ($ THOUSANDS)                           September 30, 2012PreferredsharesCommonsharesContributedsurplusRetainedearningsAccumulatedothercomprehensiveincome (loss) Total               Balance, beginning of period$48,494$131,045$4,913$288,596$(10,575)$462,473 Net income -  -  -  21,054 -  21,054 Other comprehensive income, net of tax -  -  -  -  433 433 Reinvestment of dividends -  199 -  -  -  199 Exercise of stock options -  306 -  -  -  306 Dividends:                  Preferred shares -  -  -  (907) -  (907)      Common shares -  -  -  (2,114) -  (2,114) Stock-based compensation -  -  229 -  -  229 Transfer relating to the exercise of stock options -  48 (48) -  -  -  Balance, end of period$48,494$131,598$5,094$306,629$(10,142)$481,673                             September 30, 2011PreferredsharesCommonsharesContributedsurplusRetainedearningsAccumulatedothercomprehensiveincome (loss) Total               Balance, beginning of period$48,494$129,054$4,292$228,881$(2,006)$408,715 Net income -  -  -  13,363 -  13,363 Other comprehensive loss, net of tax -  -  -  -  (11,474) (11,474) Reinvestment of dividends -  139 -  -  -  139 Exercise of stock options -  -   -  -  -  -   Dividends:                  Preferred shares -  -  -  (907) -  (907)      Common shares -  -  -  (1,648) -  (1,648) Stock-based compensation -  -  246 -  -  246 Transfer relating to the exercise of stock options -  -  -  -  -  -  Balance, end of period$48,494$129,193$4,538$239,689$(13,480)$408,434               CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CHANGES IN SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY (unaudited)     FOR THE NINE MONTH PERIOD ENDED SEPTEMBER 30, 2012       With comparative figures for the nine month period ended September 30, 2011       ($ THOUSANDS)                           September 30, 2012Preferred sharesCommonsharesContributedsurplusRetainedearningsAccumulatedothercomprehensiveincome (loss) Total               Balance, beginning of period$48,494$129,771$4,718$254,006$(10,349)$426,640 Net income -  -  -  61,067 -  61,067 Other comprehensive income, net of tax -  -  -  -  207 207 Reinvestment of dividends -  577 -  -  -  577 Exercise of stock options -  1,034 -  -  -  1,034 Dividends:                  Preferred shares -  -  -  (2,719) -  (2,719)      Common shares -  -  -  (5,725) -  (5,725) Stock-based compensation -  -  592 -  -  592 Transfer relating to the exercise of stock options -  216 (216) -  -  -  Balance, end of period$48,494$131,598$5,094$306,629$(10,142)$481,673                             September 30, 2011PreferredsharesCommonsharesContributedsurplusRetainedearningsAccumulatedothercomprehensiveincome (loss) Total               Balance, beginning of period$48,494$128,068$3,935$202,187$(1,229)$381,455 Net income -  -  -  45,161 -  45,161 Other comprehensive loss, net of tax -  -  -  -  (12,251) (12,251) Reinvestment of dividends -  415 -  -  -  415 Exercise of stock options -  599 -  -  -  599 Dividends:                  Preferred shares -  -  -  (2,719) -  (2,719)      Common shares -  -  -  (4,940) -  (4,940) Stock-based compensation -  -  714 -  -  714 Transfer relating to the exercise of stock options -  111 (111) -  -  -  Balance, end of period$48,494$129,193$4,538$239,689$(13,480)$408,434               CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS (unaudited)FOR THE THREE AND NINE MONTH PERIODS ENDED SEPTEMBER 30, 2012With comparative figures for the three and nine month periods ended September 30, 2011($ THOUSANDS)                  Three months endedNine months ended September 30,2012September 30,2011September 30,2012September 30,2011CASH FLOWS FROM OPERATING ACTIVITIES        Net income for the period$21,054 $13,363$61,067 $45,161Adjustments to determine cash flows relating to operating activities:            Financial instruments at fair value through income 358  3,537 14,347  4,636    Securitization gains (846) - (846) -    Depreciation of capital assets 249  256 718  493    Provision for credit losses 1,872  1,991 5,792  6,146    Net loss (gain) on sale or redemption of investments 120  (105) (141)  (92)    Income taxes 7,244  4,339 16,384  15,186    Income taxes paid (3,883)  (4,861) (14,138)  (14,402)    Stock-based compensation 229  246 592  714    Amortization of premiums/discount on investments 945  834 1,621  2,506    Net increase in mortgages receivable (411,409)  (558,341) (817,312)  (1,208,823)    Net increase in deposits 314,757  416,867 918,456  792,285    Change in obligations related to securities under repurchase agreements 448  (34,298) 1,964  -    Net change in securitization liabilities 24,649  300,811 51  545,372    Net interest income, excluding non-cash items (47,197)  (44,862) (154,521)  (135,840)    Interest paid (76,298)  (66,088) (218,937)  (184,246)    Other assets 961  (22,374) 1,019  (27,467)    Other liabilities (959)  (2,200) (4,815)  (2,235)    Interest received 121,352  108,356 352,779  312,609    Dividends received 2,143  2,594 20,683  7,477Cash flows (used in) from operating activities (44,211) 120,065 184,763 159,480CASH FLOWS FROM FINANCING ACTIVITIES            Dividends paid on preferred shares (907) (907) (2,719) (2,719)    Dividends paid on common shares (1,915) (1,509) (5,148) (4,527)    Proceeds from issuance of common shares 306 -  1,034  599Cash flows used in financing activities (2,516) (2,416) (6,833)  (6,647)CASH FLOWS FROM INVESTING ACTIVITIES            Purchase of investments (112,331)  (66,260) (179,863)  (125,982)    Proceeds on sale or redemption of investments 53,303  49,538 112,822  83,887    Net change in Canada Housing Trust re-investment accounts (16,467)  (13,430) (23,913)  (20,961)    Purchase of securities under reverse repurchase agreements (59,827)  (151,268) (201,100)  (181,376)    Proceeds on sale or redemption of securities under reverse repurchase agreements 101,351  5,115 151,240  105,016    Change in restricted cash (33,337)  (31,704) (16,718)  6,520    Proceeds from loan securitizations 165,187 -  165,187 -     Securitization retained interest 38  -  38  -     Purchase of capital assets (145)  (1,242) (386)  (2,057)Cash flows from (used in) investing activities 97,772 (209,251) 7,307 (134,953)Net increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents 51,045 (91,602) 185,238 17,880Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of period 305,037  264,724 170,845  155,242Cash and cash equivalents, end of period$356,082$173,122$356,082$173,122         ABOUT EQUITABLE GROUP INC. Equitable Group Inc. is a niche mortgage lender. Our primary business is first charge mortgage financing, which we offer through our wholly owned subsidiary, The Equitable Trust Company. Founded in 1970, Equitable Trust is a federally incorporated trust company. It actively originates mortgages across Canada. It serves single family, small and large commercial borrowers and their mortgage advisors. It also serves the investing public as a provider of insured Guaranteed Investment Certificates. Equitable Trust is active in providing GICs across all Canadian provinces and territories. Equitable Group's shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbols ETC and ETC.PR.A respectively. Visit the Company on line at www.equitabletrust.com and click on Investor Relations.CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTSStatements made by the Company in the sections of this report including those entitled "Looking Ahead", in other filings with Canadian securities regulators and in other communications include forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable securities laws ("forward-looking statements"). These statements include, but are not limited to, statements about the Company's objectives, strategies and initiatives, financial result expectations and other statements made herein, whether with respect to the Company's businesses or the Canadian economy. Generally, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "planned", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", or "believes", or variations of such words and phrases which state that certain actions, events or results "may" , "could", "would", "might" or "will be taken", "occur" or "be achieved." Forward-looking statements are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, closing of transactions, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, including but not limited to risks related to capital markets and additional funding requirements, fluctuating interest rates and general economic conditions, legislative and regulatory developments, the nature of our customers and rates of default, and competition as well as those factors discussed under the heading "Risk Management" in the Management's Discussion and Analysis and in the Company's documents filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. All material assumptions used in making forward-looking statements are based on management's knowledge of current business conditions and expectations of future business conditions and trends, including their knowledge of the current credit, interest rate and liquidity conditions affecting the Company and the Canadian economy. Although the Company believes the assumptions used to make such statements are reasonable at this time and has attempted to identify in its continuous disclosure documents important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking statements, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. Certain material assumptions are applied by the Company in making forward-looking statements, including without limitation, assumptions regarding its continued ability to fund its mortgage business at current levels, a continuation of the current level of economic uncertainty that affects real estate market conditions, continued acceptance of its products in the marketplace, as well as no material changes in its operating cost structure and the current tax regime. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. The Company does not undertake to update any forward-looking statements that are contained herein, except in accordance with applicable securities laws.SOURCE: Equitable Group Inc.For further information: Andrew Moor President and CEO 416-513-7000      Tim Wilson Vice President and CFO 416-513-7000