April 15 (Reuters) - Citigroup Inc trounced analysts’ first-quarter profit estimates on Thursday as its outlook for an economic recovery driven by vaccinations and government stimulus allowed it to release reserves set aside for loan losses from the pandemic.
The bank also said it would exit its consumer businesses in 13 markets across the Asia and EMEA regions, as part of a broader strategic review under new Chief Executive Officer Jane Fraser. As part of the move, Citi will divest those businesses in countries like Australia, China and India.
“While the other 13 markets have excellent businesses, we don’t have the scale we need to compete,” Fraser said in a statement.
Net income tripled to $7.94 billion, or $3.62 per share, from $2.54 billion, or $1.06 per share, a year earlier. Analysts on average had expected a profit of $2.60 per share, according to Refinitiv IBES data.
The bank’s bottom line was bolstered by its decision to draw down $3.85 billion in reserves it had built up for expected loan losses from the pandemic. A year earlier it had added $4.88 billion to its loss reserves.
Citigroup said its Institutional Clients Group will continue to offer services to clients and that it will continue to operate “wealth centers” in Singapore and Hong Kong, as well as London and the United Arab Emirates.
It gave no time frame for the exits.
The move is the latest step in Fraser’s drive to simplify the once far-flung Citigroup consumer business and improve shareholder returns.