Arab Bank Group profits grow by 7% to $643 million in nine months in 2018
Arab Bank Group reported net income after tax for the nine month period ended 30 September 2018 of $643 million compared to $601 million in the prior period, recording a growth of 7%. The Group’s net income before tax grew by 8% to reach $865 million with net operating income reaching $ 988 million and recording a growth of 9%.
Mr. Sabih Masri, Chairman of the Board of Directors stated that the strong operating performance of Arab Bank Group confirms the success of the Group, with its diversified business model regionally and globally, in dealing with the challenging operating environment.
Mr. Nemeh Sabbagh, Chief Executive Officer, stated that the strong underlying performance of Arab Bank Group is reflected in the growth in net operating income during the nine month period which was driven by core banking income generated from interest and fees coupled with effective cost management. Net operating income grew by 9% and net interest income went up by 11% as a result of yield improvement and the effective management of cost of funds. Loans reached $25.4 billion while customer deposits reached $33.2 billion.
Mr. Sabbagh stated that the Bank’s main lines of business; corporate banking, consumer and private banking, and treasury have performed well despite the challenging conditions, benefiting from clear business focus and the bank’s strong platform in its home market and the extensive network regionally and globally. He further added that the Group’s core revenues are well diversified geographically between Jordan, GCC, Levant and North Africa, in addition to international operations which leverage the synergies with the Group’s business in the Arab World. Mr. Sabbagh stated that the Bank obtained Chinese regulatory approvals and will open its branch in Shanghai early 2019 to finance the increasing trade and commercial links between China and the Arab world.
Mr. Sabbagh commented that the Bank’s healthy returns have been understated over the past few years by one off unusual year-end provisions relating to the New York legal cases which were put to finality early in the year. He added that there will not be any legal provisions to be booked in the fourth quarter of this year, and that the Group is on a clear path to deliver sustainable growth.
Mr. Sabbagh continued that the Bank enjoys a strong balance sheet and solid fundamentals in terms of liquidity, capital strength, asset quality, and operating efficiency. He remarked that Arab Bank Group enjoys strong liquidity in the form of a granular deposit base and robust capitalization comprised of Tier 1 capital. Capital Adequacy Ratio as at 30 September stood at 15.9%. Liquidity remains high with a loan to deposit ratio of 77% and Basel 3 liquidity ratios well in excess of what is required. Mr. Sabbagh also highlighted that the Group has healthy asset quality metrics with credit provisions held against non-performing loans exceeding 100%.
Mr. Sabbagh concluded that while he anticipates the environment to continue to be challenging, he expects the Bank to perform well.
Mr. Masri remarked that the broad diversification of the business model and the geographical profile of Arab Bank will continue to support the strong financial performance of the Group and its position in its markets. He added that the strength of Arab Bank’s large and unrivalled Arab banking network with a presence in 5 continents has given the Group a robust platform to deliver strong results.
Mr. Masri concluded that Arab Bank has a solid and resilient business franchise and that it is in a strong position to capitalize on regional opportunities. He said that the Bank is committed to maintaining the highest standards of excellence in financial services and will continue to build on its core strengths and create value for its customers, employees, and shareholders.
Arab Bank was named for the third year in a row “Best Bank in the Middle East for 2018” by Global Finance, New York, and was named “Bank of the Year in the Middle East for 2017” by The Banker – Financial Times, London.