China’s ICBC Posts Strong H1 Growth In ME

ICBC ME posted a pre-tax profit of $36 million in the first half of the year, up 157 per cent from H1 2011.



Operating income increased 132 per cent year-on-year to $44 million in H1 2012. (Reuters)

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Middle East (ICBC ME), a unit of the world’s largest lending bank, posted a pre-tax profit of $36 million in the first half of the year, an increase of 157 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Operating income increased 132 per cent to $44 million, while total assets stood at $6.06 billion, a year-on-year increase of 128 per cent.

In the first half of the year, the bank conducted $2.07 billion of RMB transactions in interbank money market, up 58 per cent compared to the same period of last year. The volume of trade finance also rose 187 per cent year-on-year to $4.36 billion in H1 2012.

Profits were mainly boosted by remittances, with Renminbi (RMB) remittances witnessing a 600 per cent increase in value and a 150 per cent increase in the volume of transactions compared to H1 2011.

Tian Zhiping, CEO of ICBC Middle East, said: “We are very pleased with the growth we have achieved in the first half of 2012 and intend to leverage our strong performance to increase both our geographical presence and product portfolio.

“We remain very positive on the growth prospects for the Middle East and we are committed to increasing our active support for the region’s economic growth, particularly in the areas of infrastructure development, high-technology and energy.”

In the GCC, ICBC currently operates only in the UAE and Qatar, but it has applied for licences to operate in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Earlier this month, the Kingdom’s cabinet approved an initial licence for the Chinese lender to open one branch in the country, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

The cabinet also authorised Saudi’s finance ministry to decide whether ICBC can open other branches in the country in the future.