Ahlibank’s half year net profit climbs 11% to $83m

Growth driven by a focused strategy on acquiring Qatari assets
Salah Murad, chief executive of Ahlibank
By Neil Halligan
Mon 14 Jul 2014 08:44 AM

Ahlibank have increased half-year profit 11.8 percent to $83 million (QR302.7m), up $74.3m (QR 270.7m) over the same period last year.

The Qatari bank’s net operating income grew by 14.4 percent to $126.9 million (QR462 million) in H1 2014 over the corresponding period of 2013.

According to the bank, the key drivers were high quality core banking income generated through a focused strategy on acquiring assets in Qatar.

The bank also launched a new brand identity, focusing on being “at the heart of the community” with a promise to deliver “the most personal banking experience”.

Sh. Faisal Bin A. Aziz Al Thani, chairman and managing director of Ahlibank, said the bank continues “to be an active player in the financing of the country’s infrastructure projects, and the funding requirements of the major trading companies”.

“The Bank has continued its investments in its infrastructure,” he added. “In doing so, we will be closer to our customers to deliver our brand promise while substantially improving efficiency and speed of transaction processing.”

The cost to income ratio stood at 30.9 percent, which Ahlibank say reflects continuous investments in the franchise to meet future business growth.

There was significant growth in loans and advances, which grew by 22.4 percent to $5.330 billion (QR19.4 billion), compared with $4.354 billion (QR15.852 billion) as at 30 June 2013.

Total assets at Ahlibank stood at $7.822 billion (QR28.478 billion), witnessing a growth of 15.2 percent over $6.788 billion (QR24.712 billion) as at June 2013.

Customer deposits increased by 18.4 percent to $5.699 billion (QR20.749 billion), over $4.811 billion (QR17.517 billion )recorded at 30 June 2013.

The bank’s net interest income and non-interest income increased by 10.9 percent and 28.5 percent respectively over H1 2013.

Non-performing loans ratio (NPL) stood at 1.30 percent as of June 2014, compared to 2.41 percent in June 2013, reflecting asset quality of the bank and its risk based culture.

Ahlibank’s return on average equity was at 16.4 percent, placing the bank above the industry average, while the return on average recorded at 2.3 percent, with emphasis on earnings over size.

Commenting on the results, Al Thani said the results reflect the strong economy in Qatar.

“Ahlibank’s recent strong financial performance matches Qatar’s economic progress of steady and consistent growth.

“As a Qatari-owned bank, we have committed to engage our resources to serve the community in Qatar through better service and a combination of platforms.

“Our new guiding principles embrace change through modernising our customer delivery platforms, yet keeping things simple, open and friendly. Our vision is to be at the heart of the community, a journey that started over thirty years ago.”

The chairman said Fitch Ratings has upgraded the bank's Long Term Foreign Currency Rating to 'A' from 'A-' and the Short Term Foreign Currency Rating to 'F1' from 'F2' in April this year with a stable outlook.

He added that Capital Intelligence, in December 2013, raised Ahlibank’s long term foreign currency rating to A from A-, while affirming the short term foreign currency rating at A2. Financial strength rating has been upgraded to A- from BBB+ and support rating to 1 from 2.

“These ratings bear testament to Ahlibank's strong underlying business fundamentals, realised through effective and focused execution of its well-defined strategies,” he said.

Salah Murad, the chief executive said the bank has achieved many targets during the first half of 2014.

“Our roadmap across all the business banking divisions is clear. We have concluded many milestones in the past six months in support of our market share expansion, addressing balance sheet structure, technology structure, and human capital capabilities.

“Going forward, we will invest in enhancing our internal controls so that we continue this successful journey uninterrupted. Last but not least, we are thankful to the leadership of the Qatar Central Bank for their continued support.”

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