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Thu 26 Feb 2009 07:49 AM

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Bahrain's UGB posts 6% decline in 2008 profit

Bank's managing director upbeat on 2009 prospects as major sale is due to be completed.

Bahrain's United Gulf Bank (UGB) has announced a net profit of $207 million for 2008, a decrease of 6.2 percent on the profit made in the previous year.

UGB officials said its results were achieved despite a $141.7 million loss suffered in the fourth quarter.

After seeking necessary regulatory approval, company directors will consider and recommend a dividend for approval by the bank's General Assembly, a statement said.

During the year, UGB sold its affiliate, Jordan Kuwait Bank, to Burgan Bank for $450 million and this sale was the highlight of its performance in 2008.

UGB's total revenues for 2008 decreased by 4.7 percent to $341.4 million while operating income before provisions decreased by 4.9 per cent to $217.5 million.

The bank also posted a 7.6 percent rise in total consolidated assets for 2008, up to $ 2.9 billion.

Looking forward to 2009, UGB said the agreement to sell its remaining regional commercial banks to Burgan Bank is expected to be finalised this year.

The sale of Algeria Gulf Bank, Bank of Baghdad and Tunis International Bank to Burgan Bank will result in UGB recording further gain from the transaction.

Managing director Masaud Hayat said: "Despite very difficult market conditions in 2008 the Bank achieved good results. The Bank's liquidity is adequate, it has an appropriate level of provisions and has a strong equity base to deal with the current economic climate."

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