Arab Bank Group posts $ 295.0 m pre-tax profit in Q1
Arab Bank Group's profits before taxes and provisions went up in the first quarter of 2008 to $ 295.0 million, compared with $ 234.1 million in same period in 2007, with a growth rate of 26.0 %.
Net profit, meanwhile, rose to $ 232.8 million in the same period, compared to the first three months in the same span last year, growing by 24.4%, an indication of the success of Arab Bank's efforts to keep up with changes in the banking industry, technological advancements and new concepts in financial planning.
Arab Bank Chairman/CEO Abdel Hamid Shoman said all indicators show that Arab Bank Group has kept an upward trend, attributing the record results to a prudent risk management policy adopted by the higher management and the sectorial and geographical diversity of investments.
Shoman added that Arab Bank has worked on enhancing its capability of dealing efficiently with the various segments of customers in terms of the unique requirements and needs of each segment. He said that the Bank has expanded its activities geographically through opening new branches in 2008 in areas where there is a need for direct contact with customers. It also introduced new banking products in the market that respond to the accelerating change in customers' needs and requirements and in line with developments in the international banking industry, he said.
The chairman added that these efforts have reflected positively on the various components of the balance sheet, with total assets of the Group rising in the first quarter to $ 40.5 billion, compared with $ 33.3 billion in the same period last year, recording a 21.6 % growth.
Shoman highlighted the increased activity in the credit facilities and loaning market, citing the several financing deals the bank participated in during last year in various key sectors. He said that the bank's credit facilities portfolio grew to $20.4 billion to constitute 50.4% of total assets, compared with $ 14.7 billion and 44.3 % recorded in the first quarter of 2007.
Regarding liabilities, total customers' deposits amounted to $25.7 billion, recording a 18.4% growth compared to the previous year to constitute 63.4% of ABG's sources of funds, a fact which holds proof to Arab Bank's ability to attract deposits, thanks to the clients' confidence in Arab Bank and the bank's keenness to entrench this confidence and upgrade banking products and services offered to customers.
Arab Bank has also reinforced its capital base, the chairman said, pointing out that indicators show growth in shareholders equity by 14.6% to amount to $ 7.1 billion, compared with $ 6.2 billion in the corresponding span last year, constituting 17.5 % of total assets, and enhancing capital adequacy, which stood at the end of March this year at 20.2 %. The Group, he indicated, kept high levels of liquidity, which stood at 42.8 % at the end of the first quarter this year.
Shoman stressed that Arab Bank Group, which branches in the world's most influential financial hubs, has continued with offering various banking services and products that go neck to neck with advancements in the global banking industry and meet the various needs of the Group's customers and Arab and foreign investors wherever they are on the one hand and serve the socio-economic development goals in Arab countries on the other.
The chairman underlined the growing difficulties in the banking arena due to the fierce competition and other global factors that lie "beyond our control."
"Despite these pressures, we have been able to succeed through sound management of elements that we can control," he said, explaining that the bank has excelled in managing banking operations and risks. It has done well also in harnessing modern technology and seizing the available opportunities at a time when the bank clinched to its professional ethics and maintained a high level of customer confidence.
The results, he added, reflected positively on performance indicators. Return on Asset stood at 2.3 %, while performance efficiency was remarkable as the ratio of operational costs to net revenues stood at 42.3 %.
Concluding, Shoman said credit for the successes and desirable results achieved by Arab Bank goes to its employees all over the homeland, stressing that such results will always be an incentive for more commitment to serving customers and continued hard work to meet all requirements and standards of highest-level performance.
© 2008 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)