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First Gulf Bank reports 8 per cent growth in net profit to Dh3.70 billion in 2011

UAE lender First Gulf Bank PJSC, (FGB) said, it has posted 8 per cent growth in net profits reaching Dh3.70 billion in 2011, higher than it did last year

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: UAE lender First Gulf Bank PJSC (FGB) said, it has posted 8 per cent growth in net profits reaching Dh3.70 billion in 2011, higher than it did last year.

Its net profits for the fourth quarter amounted to Dh1.02 billion, 18 per cent higher than same quarter of 2010 at Dh865 million, and 11 per cent higher than the third quarter of 2011.

FGB has achieved consistent growth in net profit for the sixth consecutive quarters, it said in a statement.

Shareholders' equity by end of 2011 stood at Dh26.7 billion, 11 per cent higher than the previous year. Capital adequacy ratio, after the proposed cash dividend distribution this year would be, at 21.5 per cent, one of the highest in the UAE banking industry and the Tier 1 Capital Ratio would be at 18.5 per cent.

Earnings per share for the full year 2011 were set at Dh2.37, 13 per cent higher than 2010.

Due to the growth in the asset book, the net interest and islamic financing income for the full year 2011 was at Dh5.07 billion, 19 per cent higher than 2010, the corporate and retail fees and commissions stood at Dh1.20 billion, 19 per cent lower than 2010, mainly on the back of regulatory changes to the retail lending framework implemented in May 2011.

The investment income at Dh62 million was higher than 2010 by 58 per cent. This is the result of a prudent investment strategy focused in 2011 mainly on the fixed income.

During the year 2011, the bank managed to keep its expenses under control at Dh1,222 million to achieve a cost to income ratio of 18.9 per cent, which is low by local and international standards but slightly higher than the 17.8 per cent achieved in 2010.

Andre' Sayegh, CEO of First Gulf Bank said: "Despite challenging global economic and financial events, 2011 was a year of continued growth for the UAE. Throughout the years, FGB's has built a deep understanding of the domestic market financial needs, enabling the bank to fully support the country's development projects. FGB's balanced business strategy has led to a full year Net Profit of Dh3,707 million. The core banking businesses of the group contributed 98 per cent of the total net profit, mainly Retail, Corporate, Treasury, Investments, Islamic and International presence. The local subsidiaries and associate companies of the group contributed with the remaining two per cent."

FGB's Board met Monday, reviewed the audited financials and expressed their satisfaction with the 2011 strong financial performance. They have considered the financial position of the bank, the current capitalisation level and the share price performance during the year 2011 and proposed the distribution of a cash dividend 100 per cent of capital or Dh1.00 per share. They recommended also the distribution of 100 per cent of capital as bonus shares. Each existing share would be eligible for one new share. The cash dividend and distribution of bonus shares are subject to the approval of the respective authorities to be followed by the approval of the Ordinary General Assembly of Shareholders.

The revenue analysis of Q4 highlighted a very strong contribution from the Net Interest and Islamic Financing activities which was at Dh1.357 billion, same as the previous quarter and 23 per cent higher than same quarter of last year. The Net Interest and Islamic Financing contributed 82 per cent to the total revenue of the quarter.

Abdul Hamid Saeed Managing Director, First Gulf Bank, commented: "The bank has consistently been paying dividend without interruption since the year 2000. This is the highest ever cash dividend to be paid by FGB to its shareholders and the highest ever bonus share distribution in FGB's history".

"FGB has been able to maintain its growth throughout 2011 through partaking in profitable investment opportunities while adhering to its sound risk management policies. As we continue to expand our operations, we remain committed to providing optimum returns to our shareholders and customers."

The balance sheet by end of year 2011 showed a comfortable liquidity position. The liquid assets ratio increased to 13.9 per cent from 13.4 per cent at the end of 2010. The loan to deposit ratio was at 101 per cent by the end of 2011 down from 106 per cent by end of September 2011. This was a result of increased customer deposits in 2011 by 5 per cent from Dh98.7 billion to Dh103.5 billion. The UAE Central Bank advance to stable deposit ratio by year end 2011 stood at 84.5 per cent, far below the regulatory maximum of 100 per cent.

During the year 2011, the bank was successful in raising medium and long term funding to support the growth of the balance sheet and to reduce the reliance on the short term customers deposits. The bank raised CHF 200 million through five year conventional bonds in the first half of 2011. This was followed by a phenomenal success of its inaugural five year Sukuk issue raising $650 million in a transaction oversubscribed six times. That was the first drawdown under a total approved $3.5 billion new Sukuk Programme. The bank also raised US$ 200 million through a two year bi-lateral loan from an international bank in Q3, 2011.

In January 2012, the bank continued with its rationalised medium term funding strategy to make the second drawdown under the Sukuk Programme in a five-year $ 500 million Sukuk transaction, which was oversubscribed by 2.8 times.

The quality of the loan book improved in 2011, the ratio of Non Performing Loans measured at 90 days overdue to Gross Loans excluding exposures to Dubai World and Dubai Holding groups stood, by end of year 2011, at 3.4 per cent, this is an improvement from the 3.7 per cent at end of 2010. The Provision Coverage Ratio was also improved significantly from 89 per cent in 2010 to 98 per cent in 2011.

"In general, the NPL trend continues to decline on the Corporate and Retail side. During the year 2011, the loans and advances book has grown by a net 10 per cent to reach by end of December Dh104.7 billion which represents an allocation of 67 per cent of the total assets of the group. The Corporate Loans which represented 64 per cent of the total loan book grew by 8 per cent in 2011 and the Retail Loans which represented the remaining 36 per cent of the total loans grew by 13 per cent in 2011," said Sayegh.


Andre' Sayegh concluded, "As we are heading into 2012, we maintain a positive outlook. Indeed, we are very well placed to support the infrastructure projects which have been recently approved by Abu Dhabi. Our focus remains on our proven strategies of ensuring a prudent balance sheet growth, which confirms our commitment of providing superior returns to our shareholders year on year. The bank's rating was affirmed at A+ by Fitch in May 2011 with Stable Outlook and affirmed at A2 by Moody's in August 2011 with upgrade of the outlook from Negative to Stable, reiterating our strong standing.