Citigroup boosted fourth-quarter profit more than analysts estimated as it generated more revenue from investment banking and a portfolio of unwanted assets.
Net income climbed to $3.34 billion, or $1.02 a share, from $344 million, or 6 cents, a year earlier, the New York-based bank said Friday in a news release. Adjusted earnings per share of $1.06 beat the $1.05 average of 26 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. For the full year, the company reported adjusted net income of $17.1 billion, the most since 2006, helped by cost cuts.
Chief Executive Officer Michael Corbat has been disposing of unwanted businesses to make the company more profitable and its earnings more predictable -- a push that helped cut fourth-quarter costs from legal matters and restructuring to the lowest level since he took over in 2012. The bank also benefited from last year's global surge in corporate dealmaking.
"We have sharpened our focus on target clients, shedding over 20 consumer and institutional businesses" in recent years, Corbat said in the statement. "We have undoubtedly become a simpler, smaller, safer and stronger institution."
Revenue at Citi Holdings, the portfolio marked for disposal, jumped 61% to $2.91 billion including an accounting adjustment as the company completed sales of businesses including subprime lender OneMain Financial and a credit-card unit in Japan. David Konrad, an analyst at Macquarie Group Ltd., had predicted revenue of $2.47 billion.
Investment banking brought in $1.13 billion of revenue, a 5.5 % increase from a year earlier, surpassing the estimates of four analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Matt Burnell, an analyst at Wells Fargo & Co., estimated revenue of $965 million, while Konrad projected $1.07 billion.
Total revenue including accounting adjustments climbed 4.2% to $18.6 billion, beating the $18 billion average estimate of 20 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Expenses fell 23% to $11.1 billion.
Adjusted profit at Citigroup's institutional clients group, run by President Jamie Forese, fell 18% to $1.35 billion. The unit houses the bank's trading, corporate and investment-banking, private bank and transaction-services businesses.
Adjusted equity-markets revenue climbed 29% to $606 million, coming in short of the $771 million average estimate of four analysts. Fixed-income trading revenue rose 7%from a year earlier to $2.22 billion, beating the average estimate of $2.14 billion. That still left total trading revenue down 21% from the third quarter, worse than the 15 percent to 20 percent range projected by Chief Financial Officer John Gerspach last month.
Lenders have been focusing on costs as they struggle to boost revenue. Before earnings reports began Thursday, analysts estimated the nation's six largest banks would cut fourth-quarter expenses to the lowest since 2008, helping to produce their highest combined profit in a decade.
The 2015 efficiency ratio at Citicorp, the company's primary business unit, came in at 57%, compared with the mid-50% target set by Corbat in March 2013. The firm generated a return on assets of 0.94%, or 94 basis points, meeting its target of 90 basis points to 110 basis points.
JPMorgan Chase said Thursday that quarterly profit rose 10% to $5.43 billion as expenses from litigation and employee compensation shrank. Wells Fargo & Co. was also scheduled to report results Friday, with Bank of America, Goldman Sachs Group and Morgan Stanley set to release results next week.