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4-Traders Homepage  >  Equities  >  Toronto Stock Exchange  >  Bank of Montreal    BMO   CA0636711016

BANK OF MONTREAL (BMO)
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Commerzbank, other banks join UBS and IBM trade finance blockchain

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10/04/2017 | 04:41pm CET
A woman passes by the IBM offices in New York

Commerzbank AG (>> Commerzbank), Bank of Montreal (>> Bank of Montreal), Erste Group Bank AG (>> Erste Group Bank AG) and CaixaBank SA (>> CaixaBank) have joined an initiative launched by UBS Group AG (>> UBS Group) and IBM Corp (>> International Business Machines Corporation) aimed at building blockchain-based technology to support trade finance transactions.

Commerzbank AG (>> Commerzbank), Bank of Montreal (>> Bank of Montreal), Erste Group Bank AG (>> Erste Group Bank AG) and CaixaBank SA (>> CaixaBank) have joined an initiative launched by UBS Group AG (>> UBS Group) and IBM Corp (>> International Business Machines Corporation) aimed at building blockchain-based technology to support trade finance transactions.

The platform called Batavia would help banks and their clients automate the trade finance process, which remains highly manual and paper-based, the participating companies said on Wednesday.

In trade finance, banks provide funding and other services to importers and exporters to facilitate commerce.

Among other things Batavia will allow parties to track a transaction from when a shipment leaves a port to when it reaches its destination.

Blockchain, which was first developed to power cryptocurrency bitcoin, is a shared ledger of data that is maintained by computers, rather than a central authority. Over the past few years, banks have been investing millions of dollars in adapting the technology to run some of their data heavy and complex processes.

Banks have been collaborating and forming consortia to develop the technology.

Trade finance is considered a good use for the technology because it involves numerous parties such as the institutions financing the transactions, buyers, sellers, transporters and inspectors.

Currently each party maintains its own records, which can lead to mistakes and delays. The new platform aims to provide all participants with a shared record, reducing errors and driving more business.

"Trade finance is a perfect use case because there are so many participants in a trade ecosystem especially when you talk of global trade," Marie Wieck, a general manager at IBM Blockchain, said in an interview. "Digitizing and creating a level of trust is a perfect accelerator (for business)."

A pilot is expected to take place with the new banks in the first quarter of 2018, Wieck said. The project was first announced in 2016.

The platform would also use so-called smart contracts, or computer programs on the blockchain that automatically enforce the terms of an agreement. For example the platform would release payments for a transaction along each step of the trade process.

While the finance industry continues to experiment with blockchain, it is still in its early days and some caution that it may take several years before it leads to any benefits.

IBM is also working with Nestle SA (>> Nestlé), Unilever Plc (>> Unilever), Wal-Mart Stores Inc (>> Wal-Mart Stores) and other large food and retail companies on a separate blockchain project to track food supply chains.

(Reporting by Anna Irrera; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

By Anna Irrera

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Financials ( CAD)
Sales 2018 22 266 M
EBIT 2018 8 193 M
Net income 2018 5 409 M
Debt 2018 -
Yield 2018 3,60%
P/E ratio 2018 12,65
P/E ratio 2019 11,73
Capi. / Sales 2018 3,04x
Capi. / Sales 2019 2,91x
Capitalization 67 661 M
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Number of Analysts 15
Average target price 106  CAD
Spread / Average Target 1,6%
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Managers
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Darryl White Chief Executive Officer & Director
L. Jacques Ménard President
J. Robert S. Prichard Chairman
Thomas E. Flynn Chief Financial Officer
George Alexander Cope Independent Director
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