(MENAFN - Arab News) Strong performance in the Tunisian market has enabled International Investment Bank (IIB), an Islamic investment bank based in Bahrain, to announce the distribution of dividends to its investors in IIB Automotive Ltd. (IAL) for the fifth consecutive year.
IAL owns a significant equity stake in ARTES, a listed company on the Tunis Stock Exchange and the exclusive distributor of Renault, Nissan, and Dacia automobiles and their spare parts in Tunisia. Though the Tunisian market faced significant challenges in 2011 caused by the Arab Spring, ARTES managed an overall successful year, earning total revenue of 148.9 million Tunisian dinars through the sale of 7,500 cars.
Revenues in the first half of 2012 reached 94.5 million Tunisian dinars, a 64.4 percent increase over the same period in 2011. This growth is mainly due to the recovering automobile market in Tunis, which has seen the number of Renault and Nissan cars sold rise during the first half of 2012.
IIB and its investors acquired an equity stake in ARTES in March 2008, its first investment both in Tunisia and in the car distribution sector. The ARTES IPO was one of the largest in Tunisia and was oversubscribed by more than ten times. The company is well positioned within the Tunisian market as it operates debt free, enjoying a strong net cash position, thus allowing it to invest its own resources into development, diversification and growth of its business in Tunisia without resorting to bank financing.
Aabed Al-Zeera, IIB's CEO and ARTES board member, said: "With brands such as Renault commanding a market share of about 18.9 percent and Nissan, which a somewhat smaller market share, ARTES was able to record steady sales and revenue throughout the year. We expect this strong performance to continue through this year to 2013."