Top Bahrain banks see surge in net profits
Manama, July 29, 2010
Bahrain's largest banks - Ahli United Bank (AUB) and Arab Banking Corp (ABC) have posted higher quarterly profits as lower provisions against bad loans offset lower income.
Net profit at AUB, the Gulf state's second-largest bank by assets, rose 22 per cent to $70.2 million from $57.6 million a year earlier.
It said its income in the quarter fell 12 per cent to $174.3 million, but it booked only $28.4 million in provisions for bad loans, compared to $80.9 million in the year-earlier quarter.
AUB's net profit fell slightly short of an estimate of analysts at SICO Investment Bank who expected the bank to post a net profit of $73.7 million.
Gulf banks have generally posted stronger quarterly earnings as their provisions recovered from their 2009 peaks, which has helped them offset a slow-down in lending.
AUB had booked large provisions against its impaired Saudi corporate portfolio in the second quarter of 2009.
ABC, Bahrain's largest bank by assets which is 90 percent owned by Libya, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi, said its net profit in the quarter surged 54 percent to $34 million from $22 million in the same quarter in 2009.
The bank said it booked $22 million in provisions during the quarter, down from $50 million in the year-earlier quarter.-Reuters