Fitch affirms stable rating for GIB
Manama, January 20, 2014
Fitch Ratings has affirmed Gulf International Bank's (GIB) long-term issuer default rating (IDR) at 'A' and the viability rating at 'bbb-'. The outlook on the long-term IDR is stable.
GIB's ratings "reflect the extremely high probability of support from its majority shareholder, the Saudi government's public investment fund owning a 97.2 per cent stake, despite the bank being licensed and based in Bahrain", the international credit rating agency said.
The agency added that "GIB's viability rating reflects the bank's improved financial metrics, particularly its strong liquidity and capital position".
Fitch highlighted GIB's improved asset quality, stating that "impaired loans fell to 4 per cent of total loans at the end of first nine months of last year from the end-2012 level of 4.5 per cent".
With reference to its funding profile, Fitch commented that "GIB has strengthened its funding profile in recent years, including raising stable customer deposits and improving the term structure of wholesale funding. In December 2012, GIB raised $500 million five-year senior unsecured funding under its $4 billion programme, at competitive pricing".
"We are very pleased with the affirmation of GIB's credit ratings by Fitch," GIB's chief executive Dr Yahya Alyahya said.
"This is a clear testimony reflecting the bank's improved asset quality, and strong capital position and funding profile.
"We also believe that this strength will further improve in the future as we enter the retail banking market in Saudi Arabia, creating a stable source of funding and diversified earnings for our shareholders.
"The affirmation of the viability rating also reflects Fitch's assessment of GIB on a standalone basis without shareholder support and reflects GIB's fundamental financial strength and risk profile," Dr Alyahya said.-TradeArabia News Service