Shuaa Capital, the Dubai-based investment bank which has cut jobs in a cost reduction move, posted a lower third-quarter loss on Sunday aided by lower provisions and a sharp drop in investment-related losses.
Shuaa, which hired ex-ABN Amro banker Colin MacDonald as CEO in April, had a third-quarter loss of AED13.9m (US$3.78m), compared with AED156.2m for the year-ago period, it said in a bourse statement.
One of the Arab world's largest investment banks and once a symbol of the sector's potential in the region, Shuaa is among a group of regional investment firms struggling to stay afloat after a slump in the value of its investment portfolio.
But the bank is now embarking on a new strategy, focused more on growing its lending business, as part of a turnaround plan under Chairman Sheikh Maktoum bin Hasher al-Maktoum, a member of Dubai's ruling family.
"The third quarter results prove that we took the right decisions to reduce our cost base against the uncertain market environment, exit non-core businesses and investments, focus on liquidity management, and reduce the volatility in our asset base," al-Maktoum said in the statement.
Shuaa appointed MacDonald as CEO to replace Michael Philipp who stepped down after just six months in the job.
Losses from investments for the quarter shrank to AED1.1m from AED79.3m a year-ago, while provisions, the amount set aside to meet bad debts, fell to AED1m from AED34.5m in the previous year.
Total revenues more than doubled to AED34.9m from AED16.3m in the year earlier period.
Shuaa has cut jobs and slashed operating costs in the wake of a sharp drop in investment banking and brokerage revenues, a mainstay for the bank during the boom years.
The bank, which also runs an asset management division, is hoping that the strategy shift will return it to "positive territory" in 2013 and consistent profitability thereafter. It expects a loss in 2012.
For 2013, Shuaa expects to generate somewhere between a net profit of AED6m and a net loss of AED18m. In 2012, losses are expected to be in a range of AED40m to AED60m, Shuaa said in the statement.
The investment bank's shares are down more than 90 percent from a 2008 peak. The stock has fallen 24 percent in the past year but is up 8.7 percent year-to-date.
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