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Seera Investment Bank net income hits $73m

Manama, February 22, 2012

Bahrain-based Seera Investment Bank has reported a net income before provisions of $73.4 million, thanks to the bank's recent exit from one of its major investments last year.

Announcing the results on Tuesday, the Sharia-compliant bank said its net profit for the year stood at $61.4 million with a return on equity of around 20 per cent. This compares to a net profit of $7.2 million for 2010.

For the last quarter in 2011, net income stood at $9.5 million.

The bank said provisions taken resulted in a net loss of $2.5 million for the quarter compared to a net profit of $400,000 for the same period in 2010.

Total assets at the end of the quarter increased by 26 per cent to $527 million.

This improvement in last year's financial results is a reflection of the performance of Seera's portfolio, especially the recent exit from one of its major investments.

Commenting on the results, chairman Asaad Ahmed Al Banwan said, 'Seera's focus from the start of the year was to build on the strong growth momentum of its investment portfolio and realise profitable returns from the exit of one or more of its investments.'

'These exit returns represent solid profits for our shareholders and reaffirm the confidence they have shown in Seera. These returns are also being realised despite the euro zone debt issues and the year's overall challenging environment and we credit this to the quality of Seera's investment portfolio,' he added.

'We are very pleased with the overall performance of Seera and its portfolio, both of which have shown resilience during the financial crisis,' he said.

'Seera has a global outlook and a strategy of seeking investments with strong fundamentals which exhibit potential for growth.

'One of the key success factors for Seera has been and will continue to be the focus on maintaining a strong balance sheet avoiding high risk taking and excessive leverage.

'This has allowed Seera the freedom to hold on to investments through the difficult markets and maximise exit returns,' Al Banwan said.

Chief executive Abdulla Janahi said: 'Given Seera's strategy of investing in sectors and asset classes with strong growth prospects and appropriate levels of risk, the current markets are expected to be challenging.

'They may on one hand present some attractive acquisition opportunities, however due to the gap between buyer and seller expectations and the increased importance of factoring in market risks, we expect the acquisition process to be slower.

'Furthermore, fund raising is also expected to be more challenging given the market impact on investor sentiment. Mena region's geopolitical risks are not expected to affect Seera in a significant way given the bank's international focus.

'Overall, we are realistic about the opportunities and challenges given the uncertain outlook about the sovereign debt issues in Europe and growth prospects in some emerging markets,' he said.

Janahi said despite these headwinds, Seera is in a good position to navigate through these markets.

'We expect our strong balance sheet and investment approach to enable Seera to move forward with its business plan. Needless to say that the bank, like most banks globally and regionally, has reconfigured its business strategy to be more suited to face current and future challenges.

'We will continue to assess the markets and make suitable adjustments,' he added.

'In the meantime Seera will continue with a prudent investment approach and conservatively manage its capital and cost base.'

According to him, Seera has investments in the industrial manufacturing and transportation sectors in addition to smaller investments in the utilities and real estate sectors.

The investment strategy is to maintain a diversified investment portfolio geographically and industry wise, focusing on defensive sectors underpinned by strong fundamental demand, and to avoid speculation driven sectors, he added.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | profit | seera investment bank |

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