Bahrain-based conventional wholesale bank, Securities & Investment Company (SICO), reported a strong start to fiscal year 2014. Net profit for the first quarter increased by 157 per cent to BHD 2.6 million compared with BHD 1.00 million for the corresponding period in 2013, with earnings per share rising 156 per cent to Bahraini fils 6.01 (Q1 2013: 2.35 fils).
Operating income grew by 89 per cent to BHD 4.23 million (Q1 2013: BHD 2.24 million), while total expenses for the quarter increased to BHD 1.49 million (Q1 2013: BHD 1.16 million).
Brokerage and other income for the period increased by 223 per cent to BHD 742,000 from BHD 230,000, reflecting the continued buoyant performance of regional equity and fixed income markets during the first quarter of the year. Net investment income reached BHD 2.45 million (Q1 2013: BHD 1.13 million), which translates into an increase of 117 per cent; while fee and commission income and net interest income also grew to BHD 721,000 (Q1 2013: BHD 564,000) and BHD 319,000 (Q1 2013: BHD 315,000) respectively.
As at 31 March 2014, assets under management reached BHD 330.58 million ($877 million), up from BHD 316.91 million ($840 million) at the end of December 2013, underlining the continued strong performance by SICO's asset management business. Assets under custody by the Bank's wholly-owned subsidiary – SICO Funds Services Company (SFS) – increased to BHD 1.31 billion compared with BHD 1.26 billion at the end of 2013.
Total balance sheet footings at the end of March 2014 stood at BHD 93.48 million (end-2013: BHD 94.19 million). The Bank continued to maintain a strong capital base, ending the first quarter with BHD 60.99 million in shareholders' equity after adjusting for the year 2013 dividends (end-2013: BHD 61.86 million). The balance sheet remains highly liquid, with a very high consolidated capital adequacy ratio of 63.34 per cent. Available-for-sale investments at the quarter-end were BHD 29.29million (end-2013: BHD 32.74 million), while investments at fair value through profit or loss were BHD 18.62 million (end-2013: BHD 19.81million). A significant amount of SICO's market risk exposure continues to be in short duration investment-rated and GCC Government fixed income instruments.
Ms. Najla M. Al Shirawi, CEO of SICO, said, "This quarter we generated higher year-on-year revenues in all of our business lines, demonstrating the strong collective effort across the Group. Following our successful performance in 2013, this illustrates that we are bearing the fruits of all our hard work during the market downturn, where we have remained focused on strengthening our infrastructure and improving our services, while maintaining our resilient performance track record.
"Based on this strong start, and with a highly professional and determined management team in place, we are well positioned to take advantage of favourable regional capital market conditions and an improving global economic environment. Given that the current positive and robust market momentum continues without any cyclical downturn due to valuations being stretched in regional or international markets, we remain confidently optimistic about the short- and medium-term outlook for SICO."