UAE’s First Gulf Bank Q4 Profit Up 12%, Beats Forecast

The lender’s profits were boosted by higher interest income and Islamic financing.

First Gulf Bank, the UAE’s second-largest lender by market value, on Wednesday beat analysts’ expectations with a 12-per cent rise in fourth-quarter net profit, boosted by higher interest income and Islamic financing.

The bank made a net profit of Dhs1.15 billion ($313.1 million) in the final three months of 2012, up from Dhs1.02 billion in the same period of 2011.

Six analysts polled by Reuters forecast an average net profit of Dhs1.024 billion for the quarter.

Full-year net profit for 2012 was Dhs4.15 billion, also up 12 per cent over 2011.

The performance encouraged FGB to raise its cash dividend by 67 per cent over 2011. The total cash dividends of Dhs2.5 billion for 2012, worth 60 per cent of net profit, is equivalent to Dhs0.83 per share, the statement said.

“Given our current strong capital and liquidity position, we are very comfortable with the proposal,” Abdulhamid Saeed, board member and managing director of FGB, said.

The bank booked provisions of Dhs428 million in the fourth quarter versus Dhs303.7 million in the same period of 2011, taking full-year provisions to Dhs1.65 billion, up six per cent over the previous year.

Loans and advances grew nine per cent over the course of 2012 to Dhs114.6 billion, while deposits grew 15 per cent over the same timeframe to Dhs119.3 billion. Total assets stood at Dhs175 billion at the end of December, up 11 per cent over that of December 2011.

In November, FGB raised $900 million loan from a group of international banks to finance its expansion.

FGB shares were trading 0.8 per cent down at 0925 GMT, trimming 2013 gains to 5.5 per cent, against a 0.1 per cent increase in the wider Abu Dhabi index on Wednesday.