* CEO says capital strength makes acquisitions possible
* CFO upbeat on Mexico prospects despite Trump win
* Q4 EPS C$1.58 vs C$1.51 market view
* Bank benefits from strong international, domestic growth
(Adds CFO comments on Mexico, Trump, acquisitions)
By Matt Scuffham
TORONTO, Nov 29 Bank of Nova Scotia,
Canada's third-biggest lender, said it could take advantage of
its financial strength to make acquisitions in the Pacific
Alliance trade bloc after reporting better-than-expected profit.
Scotiabank said on Tuesday its earnings per share increased
to C$1.58 from C$1.46 in the same period the previous year.
Analysts had on average forecast earnings of C$1.51, according
to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company's shares rose as much as 2 percent to $73.98, a
more than two-year peak, before trimming gains to trade 1.9
percent higher at $73.92.
The bank said its core tier 1 ratio, a key measure of its
financial strength, was 11 percent, well above the minimum
requirement set by regulators, which Chief Executive Brian
Porter said gave it the flexibility to make acquisitions.
"Our strong capital position provides us the opportunity to
invest in and grow our businesses both organically or
strategically through acquisitions," he told analysts on a
Asked where potential acquisitions might be made, Chief
Financial Officer Sean McGuckin told reporters the bank's
international focus remained on the Pacific Alliance, a Latin
American trade bloc comprising Mexico, Peru, Chile and Columbia.
McGuckin said the bank remained confident about its
prospects in Mexico despite a plunge in the Mexican peso after
Donald Trump's U.S. election victory this month raised fears
about the country's economy.
"The trade between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico is so
inter-linked. It's hard to see how that is going to change," he
said. "It's hard to speculate but I think the market's
discounting it more than we think it will play out."
Scotiabank already has the biggest foreign presence of any
Canadian bank. It said this year marked the first time its
international business had exceeded C$2 billion ($1.5 billion)
which Porter said was driven by the Pacific Alliance region
which recorded double-digit growth.
Net income from the bank's Canadian business grew by 14
percent to C$954 million in the fourth quarter ended Oct. 31,
benefiting from the contribution from a credit card business
Scotiabank purchased from JPMorgan Chase Bank.
McGuckin on the analyst call played down concerns about
Canada's housing markets, saying the bank's residential mortgage
book was "high quality" and "low risk."
On Monday, Canada's banking regulator urged the country's
mortgage industry to support tougher lending rules, warning
lenders could face big losses if overheating housing markets
($1 = 1.3441 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by W Simon and Meredith