Andre Sayegh, CEO of First Gulf Bank
First Gulf Bank, (FGB), one of the leading banks in the UAE, achieved its 14th consecutive year of positive bottom line growth in 2013, with record 2013 Net Profits of AED 4.77 billion, representing a 15% increase from AED 4.15 billion in 2012. In the fourth quarter of 2013, Net Profits grew by 19% from AED 1.15 billion in Q4’2012 to an unprecedented AED 1.37 billion.
Commenting on the Bank’s robust performance in 2013, Abdulhamid Saeed, FGB Managing Director and Board Member, said: “FGB’s outstanding results for 2013 reconfirm the solid foundation of the FGB business model year after year. Clearly, this achievement is the result of our concentrated efforts to grow a diversified stream of revenues across businesses and geographies. Our profitability is supported by a sustainable growth of quality assets and cost management. I am confident to confirm, that FGB now commands the power of even stronger future revenue generation.”
Saeed added: “First Gulf Bank is committed to continue offering high returns to our shareholders. Our consistent, solid performance, growing capital and strong liquidity have played a key role in strengthening shareholders’ trust in FGB. Over the years, the majority of FGB shareholders are perceived to be long term strategic investors rather than speculators. FGB shares generated a 5-year total return to shareholders in excess of 400% for the period. After the proposed dividend, which represents 63% of 2013’s Net Profit, our Basel II Capital Adequacy ratio would remain in excess of 17.5%, much higher than the regulatory requirement.”
FGB’s Board of Directors has recommended the distribution of a cash dividend of 100% (or One Dirham per share) and 30% bonus shares for the financial year ended 31 December 2013. This implies a total cash dividend of AED 3.0 billion, up 20% from AED 2.5 billion distributed in 2012. The dividends proposal is subject to the UAE Central Bank’s approval, to be followed by the approval of the Ordinary General Assembly of Shareholders, planned to be held on 26th February 2014.
Andre Sayegh, CEO of First Gulf Bank, commented: “While there is no doubt that the economic environment is improving, both in the domestic market and overseas, our continued focus remains primarily on balance sheet optimisation. In fact we manage ratios with the objective of achieving best asset allocation while maintaining a strong liquidity position and a strong capital base. Moreover, our focus on risk mitigation and robust credit assessment resulted in delivering a solid balance sheet with a low level of NPLs. Last November, FGB’s leadership and strong financial position were acknowledged with the Banker’s of London awarding FGB the title of “UAE Bank of the Year.”
A key event during Q4’2013 was the successful completion of the “Dubai First” acquisition in November. Sayegh added: “FGB’s acquisition of “Dubai First” was in line with our ongoing strategy to diversify our sources of revenue with complementing businesses that add value and offer clear synergies to our existing operations. “Dubai First” also supports FGB’s customer-centric strategy and the creation of an integrated platform for developing exciting new products in the future.”