Standard & Poor's affirms - GIB’s “a-” and “a-2” credit rating
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has affirmed its “A-/A-2” long- and short-term counterparty credit ratings on Gulf International Bank (GIB). The Bank’s outlook has also been affirmed as stable.
A statement issued by the international credit rating agency explained that “the ratings on GIB continue to reflect the Bank's supportive ownership structure, enhanced merchant-banking franchise, and solid loan quality…. GIB is a merchant bank focusing on the Gulf market, with a particular expertise in syndicated lending and project finance.”
S&P added that the stable outlook demonstrates the “expectation that GIB will continue to benefit from the commitment of its shareholders and a strong commercial position in the Gulf region.”
Commenting on the rating affirmation, Dr. Khaled Al-Fayez, GIB’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “This is a strong testimony of the Bank’s sound merchant banking strategy, which has led in the past few years to a significant expansion in the Bank’s operations and in its fee-based income, especially from corporate advisory and asset management activities.”
He added: “Despite the challenges we faced in 2007 as a result of the international credit crisis, which led to significant provisioning, we still maintain our competitive edge. Our core business in the Gulf witnessed substantial growth and we maintain excellent relationships with a wide client base.”
Emmanuel Volland, a S&P analyst, told the Financial Times last Saturday that GIB’s recent capital increase is welcome, and it is proof of shareholders' strong support and commitment toward GIB. The Bank has followed a conservative provisioning approach.
Last year GIB led a record number of major projects and transactions and acted as sole lead arranger and underwriter in a greater number of deals than ever before. The Bank maintains its status as the primary provider of project and structured finance services in the region. With more than US$ 24 billion in client assets under management, GIB is the largest Arab commercial asset manager in the Middle East.
© 2008 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)