Ahli United Bank Group (AUB) achieved USD 310.6 million in net profits, which is the highest rate AUB has ever achieved since it was established in 2000, with 17% growth rate, compared with profits achieved in 2010. AUB registered USD 70.3 million net profits in the fourth quarter of 2011, compared with USD 64.4 million for the same period in 2010.
These rates came amid a year full of economic challenges that faced global economy and Eurozone in particular, as consumers trust reduced, loans demands fell and investors stopped their investments as a result of economic instability global economy witnessed. In addition, credit worthiness agencies lowered US’s AAA credit rating and some major European countries, marking the global economic decline. European sovereign debt crisis also exacerbated the current economic tensions.
AUB continued its conserved policies based on giving priority to liquidity support and capital base securing in parallel with tough policies of controlling expenditures, to guarantee the required capability and flexibility to do its role in meeting the requirements of the local and regional markets and customers.
AUB reached an important agreement with the international financial institution and its subsequent capital investment fund with USD 290 million in March 2011. This agreement includes issuing convertible priority shares with USD 125 million to support Tier I capital and offering a secondary loan for 10 year with USD 165 million to support Tier II capital. It is also agreed to extend the maturity date of the USD 200 million secondary loan, two-year term scheduled to be on December 15th 2018, to increase its capital value, in accordance with the calculation rules of the solvency capital of banks, which is linked to the maturity date of these loans.
AUB succeeded in achieving a noticeable increase in customers’ deposits by 16.9%, reaching USD 17.3 billion, which helped in implementing AUB’s plans that aimed at decreasing short-term loans and getting financed through interbank market mechanisms. AUB decreased these transactions by around USD 0.8 billion in the last year, although the volume of the credit and investment transactions grew.
Regarding AUB’s credit portfolio, AUB continued its conserved lending policies that consider the Bank’s financing and developmental role. Loan portfolio grew by 7%, reaching USD 15.5 billion, compared with USD 14.5 billion in 2010. AUB employed more liquidity resources available in treasury bills with Gulf central banks as well as other high quality liquidity resources. These investments registered an increase from USD 2.1 billion on December 31st 2010, to USD 2.6 billion by the end of December 2011, raising the Group’s total assets to USD 28.3 billion by the end of the same period.
AUB maintained the assets’ quality through keeping the percentage of non-performing loans at 2.5% rate, while the annual credit provisions posted a 14.4% reduction, reaching USD 129.8 billion. These provisions constitute of public provisions of USD 79.1 billion, reserved to meet the conserved monitoring conditions applied in the counties in which AUB Group works in. The public provisions are not linked to a certain level of the customers’ credit or certain loans’ facilities. This contributed to the increase of the provisions coverage percentage, including the reserved public provisions, to 135% rate, compared with 120% in 2010.
These efforts contributed to the increase in AUB’s total operating revenues by 11.6%, reaching USD 842.1 million, with an 11.4% growth rate in net interest revenues. Other banks in AUB Group also increased the Group’s share by 10% from that in 2010. Costs percentage is improved to reach 32.4%, thanks to the AUB’s continued efforts to secure the financial control and achieve highest levels of operating efficiency.
The rate of return on average shareholders’ equity rose to 12.7% in 2011, compared with 12% in 2010. Return on average assets kept on 1.2% as a result of maintaining adequate precautionary levels of liquidity and investing them in high quality assets with low-risk average return.
Because of these results, the basic earnings per share were 6.2 cents in the year ended on December 31st 2011, compared with 5.4 cents in 2010. Given these results, the board gives a recommendation for the general assembly to approve the allocation of monetary profits by 3 cents per share in 2010 and distributing bonus shares with 5%, meaning one share for each 20 ordinary shares.
Mr. Fahad Al Rajan, chairman of AUB Group, said that AUB succeeded in registering a robust growth and high levels of operational and profit performance amid the economic turmoil caused by the regional unrest and the European sovereign debt crisis repercussions. Al Rajan added that AUB maintained a sustainable growth in operational revenues and net profits which reflect AUB’s steady financial position. AUB will cope with the continued difficult operational climate with trust and caution in 2012, aiming at fulfilling more success and achievements.
Amwal Al Ghad