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Ithmaar okays $53.7m cash dividend payout

Manama, March 24, 2008

Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based investment bank with global reach, has approved a $53.7 million cash dividend payout for the year ended December 31, as recommended by its board of directors.

The bank announced record earnings last month, achieving a consolidated net profit of $188.3 million.

The shareholders also approved the directors’ report, the auditor’s report and the consolidated financial statements at the bank's annual general meeting held at the Regency InterContinental Bahrain.

The meeting was presided over by Ithmaar Bank chairman Khalid Abdulla-Janahi. “We are pleased to continue dividend payment to shareholders for the second consecutive year. The Ithmaar banking group, which Ithmaar Bank heads, was unaffected by the challenging conditions that afflicted global financial markets last year."

"The bank and all its subsidiaries and associates did exceptionally well, each posting a strong profit and reporting substantial growth,” said Janahi.
 
“Ithmaar will be reinvesting the rest of its profits into augmenting its direct lines of business, launching new products, and further expanding its client base, all with the aim of becoming indisputably the benchmark investment bank, operating globally from the Middle East,” he added.

Janahi said this year would be an important one for Ithmaar Development Company, the development arm of the Ithmaar banking group, as it implements its $3.3 billion projects portfolio.

“Reclamation work has already started on Dilmunia, our $1.6 billion ‘health island’, which is set to revolutionise healthcare in Bahrain and turn the Kingdom into a health tourism hub. Work is also set to begin this year on the $1.5 billion Aljazayer Beach redevelopment, which will turn the existing facility into a world class beachfront attraction, and the $175 million hotel and tower project, to be located off the Seef District,” continued Janahi.

Ithmaar Bank’s 2007 result is up from the $181.1 million profit earned during 2006, a result which benefited from a one-off gain of $105.5 million on the sale of a subsidiary, Islamic Investment Company of the Gulf (Bahamas) Limited.

Excluding this item, the bank’s net profit more than doubled in 2007, when compared with the previous year.

A key event in 2007 was Ithmaar’s acquisition of the remaining 40 per cent of Shamil Bank held by minority shareholders, making Shamil Bank a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Bahrain-based bank.

The acquisition through a share swap also made Shamil Bank’s subsidiary Faisal Private Bank (FPB) wholly owned by Ithmaar Bank, while Ithmaar’s effective stake in Pakistan-based commercial and investment bank Faysal Bank Limited (FBL) increased, from 51 per cent to 65.72 per cent.

In addition to Ithmaar Bank, Shamil Bank, FPB, FBL and Ithmaar Development Company, the Ithmaar banking group also includes Solidarity (a global takaful company based in Bahrain) and First Leasing Bank (the first bank specialising in equipment leasing in the GCC).

“The year 2008 will see further consolidation among the companies that make up the Ithmaar banking group. We have already begun some cross selling activities and will continue to explore new opportunities of benefiting from the global reach our group enjoys. We have also started grouping certain support services to achieve greater efficiency and economies of scale,” Janahi added.-TradeArabia News Services




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