Manama, Bahrain: Arab Banking
Corporation (ABC) today announced that its consolidated Group net profit for the
first quarter of 2015 was US$52 million, compared to profit of US$71 million
reported last year. The quarter witnessed significant currency movements with
the US dollar strengthening against domestic currencies of most geographies in
which ABC operates. In particular, Brazilian Real and Algerian Dinar weakened by
over 20% during the quarter compared to the same period in the previous year.
These adverse movements were further compounded by exceptionally volatile
trading conditions which negatively impacted ABC’s Treasury operations. However,
more positively, core business volumes continued to grow during the quarter, in
spite of challenging market conditions arising from sustained lower oil prices
as well as the economic and political climate in a number of key markets.
The overall combination of these factors resulted in total operating
income of US$168 million compared to US$226 million reported in the first
quarter of last year. Operating expenses at US$104 million were marginally
higher (US$103 million Q1 2014), with some cost investment on strategic
initiatives to support business growth being offset by weaker domestic
currencies. Net impairment provisions of US$9 million, were slightly above the
previous year’s US$8 million indicating sustained asset quality as well as
robust management. Tax for the quarter was a credit of US$12 million against a
charge of US$29 million in 2014, benefiting from the tax treatment of currency
movements in subsidiaries.
ABC Group’s total assets stood at US$28.6 billion at the end of the
first quarter compared to US$29.4 billion at 2014 year-end, also affected by
translation to the stronger US dollar, although asset volumes grew in domestic
currency terms. The ratio of NPLs (non-performing loans) to gross loans at 2.7%
remains healthy (2.4% at year-end 2014).
Deposits decreased by US$0.7 billion during the quarter to reach
US$18.9 billion again impacted by currency translation. Liquidity continues to
be at comfortable levels with liquid assets to deposits ratio increasing to 70%
compared to 65% at year-end 2014.
Shareholders’ equity at 31 March 2015 stood at US$3,790 million after
the distribution of 5% dividend to the shareholders and after foreign exchange
movements on investments in subsidiaries. ABC Group’s consolidated
total capital adequacy ratio (CAR) continued to remain strong at 20.9%,
comprising predominantly Tier 1 at 17.5%. The total CAR, calculated in
accordance with the Central Bank of Bahrain’s newly introduced Basel 3
equivalent rules, was well above the regulatory minimum of 12.5%.
ABC's Chairman, Mr. Saddek ElKaber, commented that “The challenges posed during the quarter, in particular by the
currency markets in some of ABC’s key countries have clearly affected the
results. However, I am confident that ABC Group will successfully face such
challenges with continued resilience, as has been repeatedly demonstrated in the
ABC is a leading player in the region’s banking industry and
provides innovative wholesale financial products and services that include
corporate banking, trade finance, project and structured finance, syndications,
treasury products and Islamic banking. It also provides retail banking services
through its network of retail banks in Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria.