Lebanon’s BLOM Bank Q1 Profit Rises 2.5%

Lebanese lender BLOM Bank’s net profits in the first quarter of 2012 surged by 2.5 percent to $84.12 million compared to $82.076 million in the same period of last year, reflecting the bank’s solid results and steady growth, according to the unaudited results of the bank.

“Total profits up to the end of March 2012 reached $84.12 million, up by 2.5 percent or $2.05 million from the same period in 2011, despite booking additional collective provisions of $20 million,” the bank’s statement said.

The statement added that the results implied the highest profitability ratios among Lebanese listed banks with an ROAE of 17.7 percent and an ROAA of 1.43 percent.

“These results commend the bank’s performance amid operating conditions characterized by political upheavals in the region, and by debt crises and economic slowdown at the global level.

“They also reinforce the soundness of BLOM Bank’s strategy that gives priority to control over risks and expenses, as reflected in the bank’s high coverage ratio of non-performing loans at 130 percent when accounting for real guarantees (excluding collective provisions), and the lowest cost-to-income ratio at 36.52 percent,” the bank said.

Total assets increased to $23.8 billion in the first quarter of 2012, up by 4.34 percent or $990.2 million from the same period in 2011.

Deposits increased to $20.7 billion, higher by 4.04 percent or $802.3 million, whereas loans to customers climbed to $5.7 billion, by more than 5.51 percent or $296.8 million.

Tier I capital rose to $2.05 billion, up by 10.43 percent or $193.3 million.

“These results attest once again to the success of BLOM Bank’s cautious and conservative policy, which allowed it to minimize the negative implications arising from the political and economic disturbances in the region on its profitability and performance, thus strengthening the bank’s position as a leading bank in Lebanon and the region,” the statement said.

BLOM, one the two leading banks in Lebanon, has branches in Syria and Egypt, countries that are the scene of political and security upheaval.

BLOM made no mention about the impact of the Syrian turmoil on their banks in this country, The Daily Star reported.