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Thu 16 Oct 2008 12:05 AM

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UAE's Union National Bank Q3 profits double

Abu Dhabi bank reports quarterly net profit of $166mn way ahead of forecast.

Abu Dhabi's Union National Bank's third-quarter net profit more than doubled to 610.8 million dirhams ($166.3 million), helped by growth in loans, investment gains and other factors.

The lender made 1.375 billion dirhams in the nine months to Sept. 30, up 63.5 percent, UNB said in a statement. The result beat a forecast of 395.10 million dirhams by an analyst in a survey by newswire Reuters last month.

The bank made a third-quarter profit of 298.9 million dirhams in 2007.

"We are seeing a recurrence of strong growth in the first two quarters and it is more of a pick up now. Multiple factors have contributed to the profit growth... growth from loans and advances and investment gains," Sanjeev Dureja, the bank's head of finance, told Reuters by telephone.

UNB is the first Abu Dhabi-based bank to announce third quarter results after the bourse asked listed banks to advance their results to tame speculation in a bearish market.

Earnings per share for the nine-month period was 0.72 dirham, the statement said without giving a comparative figure.

Loans and advances grew 45.5 percent to 50.98 billion dirhams during the nine-month period. Customer deposits jumped 40 percent to 43.89 billion dirhams.

Total assets surged 35 percent from a year earlier to 62.59 billion dirhams, while shareholders' equity advanced 20.5 percent to 7.55 billion dirhams.

Annualised return on average equity was 25.3 percent while the annualised return on average assets was 3 percent, the statement said.

"The performance for the nine-month period was particularly encouraging especially viewed against a backdrop of an extremely challenging international environment," CEO Mohammad Nasr Abdeen said, adding that the bank had not been hit by a global crisis because of its growth strategy and its focus on the UAE market. (Reuters)