BMO hikes dividend but misses estimates as profit hit by hurricane claims

TORONTO — Bank of Montreal raised its quarterly dividend as it reported its fourth-quarter profit slipped compared with a year ago, hurt by reinsurance claims related to hurricanes Irma, Maria and Harvey.The bank says it will now pay a quarterly dividend of 93 cents per share, up three cents from the previous quarter.The increase in the payment to shareholders came as BMO reported its fourth-quarter net income fell to $1.23 billion or $1.81 per share, down from $1.35 billion or $2.02 per share a year ago.BMO says the quarter included increased reinsurance claims of $112 million largely related to the hurricanes, as well as the impact of a weaker U.S. dollar and a $41-million after-tax restructuring charge.Revenue for the three months ended Oct. 31 totalled $5.66 billion, up from $5.28 billion.On an adjusted basis, BMO says it earned $1.31 billion or $1.94 per share, down from nearly $1.4 billion or $2.10 per share a year ago. Analysts on average had expected a profit of $1.99 per share, according to Thomson Reuters.

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