Bahrain's Middle East Bank (BMB) closed last year $57 million in the red due mainly to losses in equity and fund investments, the bank said in a statement Thursday, February 1. Losses from investments stood at $44.8 million in 2000 compared to a profit of $44.7 million the year before, while total assets fell five percent to $621 million.
"The bank was clearly over-exposed to the risks inherent in trading equities given the heightened volatility that the markets experienced in 2000," chief executive Albert Kittaneh said.
"By implementing more rigorous controls and reducing our positions in equity investments and foreign exchange to reflect a more acceptable risk reward ration, the damage of 2000 can be overcome," he said.
BMB, which posted an all-time high profit of $30.1 million in 1999, is listed on the Bahrain stock exchange, with more than 14,000 mainly Gulf shareholders together holding a 70 percent stake. —(AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000
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