Sheikh Maktoum bin Hasher al-Maktoum. (Getty)
Investment bank Shuaa Capital, which has been shedding jobs to cut costs, posted a narrower quarterly loss on Sunday helped by lower provisions and a sharp drop in investment-related losses.
Shuaa, which has had three chief executives in the past year, had a third-quarter loss of Dhs13.9 million ($3.78 million), compared with a loss of Dhs156.2 million for the year-ago period, it said in a bourse statement.
One of the Arab world’s largest investment banks and once a symbol of the sector’s potential in the region, Shuaa is among a group of regional investment firms struggling to stay afloat after excessive debt and declining portfolios led to losses.
Losses from investments for the quarter shrank to Dhs1.1 million from Dhs79.3 million a year-ago, while provisions, the amount set aside to meet bad debts, fell to Dhs1 million from Dhs34.5 million in the previous year.
Total revenues more than doubled to Dhs34.9 million from Dhs16.3 million in the year earlier period, it said.
Shuaa is embarking on a new strategy, focused on building up its lending business, as part of a turnaround strategy under chairman Sheikh Maktoum bin Hasher al-Maktoum, a member of Dubai’s ruling Maktoum family.
“The third quarter results prove that we took the right decisions to reduce our cost base against the uncertain market environment, exit non-core businesses and investments, focus on liquidity management, and reduce the volatility in our asset base,” Sheikh Maktoum said in the statement.
It has cut jobs and slashed operating costs in the wake of a sharp drop in investment banking and brokerage revenues, a mainstay for the bank during the boom years.
Shuaa, which also runs an asset management division, is hoping that the strategy shift will return the bank to “positive territory” in 2013 and consistent profitability thereafter. It expects a loss in 2012.
The investment bank’s shares are down more than 90 per cent from a 2008 peak. The stock has fallen 24 per cent in the past year but is up 8.7 per cent year-to-date.