News Column

Ahli United Bank posts net profit of $136.6m

May 6, 2014

MANAMA: Ahli United Bank (AUB) reported a net profit attributable to its equity shareholders of $136.6 million for the first quarter of this year.

Last year's first quarter results of $309.8m included an exceptional non-recurring gain of $212.9m on the sale of its 29.4 per cent stake in its Qatari affiliate.

Excluding this item, the net profit reflected a surge of 41pc in the first quarter compared with the $96.9m in the first quarter last year.

This year's first quarter net profit also represents a 76.9pc improvement over the fourth quarter of last year trailing quarter reported profit of $77.2m.

The basic earnings per share in the first quarter of this year was 2.3 US cents, compared to 1.7 cents, adjusted for the exceptional gain, in the same period last year.

The operating results of AUB were driven primarily by growth in its core recurring earnings which was underpinned by the improvement in its net interest margins through selective deployment of funds in high yielding assets combined with effective funding cost management.

This resulted in a 13.2pc increase in net interest income from $167.4m to $189.5m.

Diversified business flows contributed to a 21.3pc growth in fee income from $32.3m to $39.2m.

With incremental operating revenues and continuing disciplined cost management, the cost income ratio improved to a very satisfactory 26.5pc level (year-to-date first quarter of 2013: 29.9pc).

The group's total assets rose to $33.6 billion (+3pc) since December 31, last year driven by a $0.5bn (+2.9pc) increase in the loan portfolio reflecting improving operating conditions to reach $17.8bn by March 31, this year.

Customers' deposits increased to $22.8bn as at March 31, this year (December 31, last year: $22bn).

Asset quality levels were sustained with the non-performing loans ratio at 2.5pc (December 31, last year: 2.6pc) while the specific provision coverage ratio improved to 89.7pc (December 31, last year: 87.6pc).

The total provision coverage ratio, inclusive of collective impairment provisions, rose to 152pc as at March 31, this year (December 31, last year: 149pc).

The group's Return on Average Equity (ROAE) for the first quarter of this year increased to 17.2pc, compared with the operating ROAE of 14.1pc achieved in the first quarter of last year, excluding the exceptional gain.

Return on average assets, on the same basis, was higher at 1.9pc for first quarter (first quarter of last year: 1.4pc).

"AUB continued its strong performance in the first quarter of this year through focused attention on developing and diversifying core operating income growth," AUB chairman Fahad Al Rajaan said.

"On an ongoing basis, the bank seeks to expand its banking franchise further through value accretive organic or inorganic means, where feasible, which underpins its business model.

"This entails continuous focus on the effective deployment of its capital resources across the group's operating and targeted markets" he added.

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Source: Gulf Daily News (Bahrain)