UBL announced earnings on Wednesday slightly below expectations for 9MCY19 at PKR 14.2bn (EPS: PKR 11.62), depicting an uptick of 46% YoY while declining by a meagre 2% QoQ. Excluding the pension liability from last year PBT for the bank is up 11% YoY during 9MCY19. NII growth, impressive control on OPEX and lower provisioning expenses all supported the performance of the bank. The bank announced a dividend of PKR 3.00/share for the quarter taking total payout to PKR 8.00/share for 9MCY19. Net Interest Income of the bank settled at PKR 46.5bn during 9MCY19, rising 7% YoY as we see impact of rate hikes coming through on NIMs. A stellar domestic current accounts base helped protect the bank from NII deterioration during the quarter (+2% QoQ) despite the 100-bps hike in July. NFI depicted a decline of 8% YoY during 9M owing to low capital gains (-84% YoY) and lower dividend income (-25% YoY), as per expectations. Income from foreign operations and derivatives showed a staggering jump of 25% YoY. Lower provisioning expenses (-29% YoY/-27% QoQ) for the bank provided relief to the bank’s profitability which we attribute to reduced provisioning on the gulf book as well as lower impairment charge (PKR 2.8bn was booked last quarter). Effective tax rate was set at 44% during 9MCY19 compared to 43% SPLY.