SINGAPORE (April 24): Sing Investments & Finance posted earnings of $5.6 million in the first quarter ended March 31, up 123.3% from $2.5 million a year ago.

This was mainly due to the absence of allowances for impairment losses on loans and advances of $2.1 million incurred in 1Q16.

Net interest income and hiring charges increased 15.6% to $10.6 million, from $9.1 million a year ago. This was on the back of a 13.6% decline in interest expense.

Loans and advances fell 3.1% to $1.85 billion, compared to $1.91 billion in the preceding quarter ended Dec 2016.

Profit from operations before allowances was $6.3 million, up 23.6% from a year ago.

Cash and cash equivalents stood at $311.7 million as at March 31, 2017.

Against the backdrop of expected modest economic growth, the group says it will continue to proactively manage its interest margin, focus on new business prudently, and be disciplined in its cost controls.

Shares of Sing Investments & Finance closed half a cent lower at $1.53 on Monday.