January 12, 2018 / 12:42 PM / 5 months ago

UPDATE 2-PNC Financial 4th-qtr profit more than doubles

(Adds forecast from conference call, analyst comments)

By Pallavi Dewan

Jan 12 (Reuters) - PNC Financial Services Group Inc reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Friday, helped by higher interest income and consumer loan growth and the U.S. regional lender also forecast mid-single digit loan and revenue growth for 2018.

The quarter included a $1.2 billion net income tax benefit, from revaluation of the company’s deferred tax liabilities, the majority of which are related to the its equity stake in BlackRock Inc.

PNC’s forecast is as expected when compared with analysts who have updated their estimates for the tax reform, KBW analyst Brian Klock said.

Net income attributable to diluted common shares rose to $2.01 billion, or $4.18 per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, from $973 million, or $1.97 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the Pittsburgh-based bank earned $2.29 per share, beating analysts’ average estimate of $2.20 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company’s alternative GAAP measure of profit for the quarter also included a one-time benefit of $911 million due to cuts in corporate tax rates.

While bigger banks such as Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc are expected to take a hit in Q4 from the new tax law, PNC gained from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Net interest income at PNC rose 10 percent to $2.35 billion.

Commercial lending balances rose 7 percent over last year to $147.4 billion, as market activity heightened in anticipation of the tax bill.

2017 saw an industry-wide softness in commercial and industrial (C&I) loans, but analysts say C&I lending could rise this year, in part due to the tax changes.

“PNC and its entire peer group is expecting 4 percent total (loan) growth, with 5 percent for C&I growth in 2018,” Klock said. (Reporting By Pallavi Dewan and Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Editing by Patrick Graham and Shounak Dasgupta)

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