(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) First Gulf Bank, or FGB, on Monday declared an eight per cent increase in its net profit that reached Dh3.7 billion for 2011 and also recommended a 100 per cent cash dividend for its shareholders.
The bank's net profit for the fourth quarter amounted to Dh1.02 billion, 18 per cent higher than same quarter of 2010 at Dh865 million, and 11 per cent higher than the third quarter of 2011. FGB has achieved consistent growth in net profit for the sixth consecutive quarter.
"With a strong reliance on core banking combined with diversified sources of revenues and a very efficient model built on a low cost to income ratio, we have continued our progress to generate consistent results," FGB chief executive officer Andre Sayegh said in a statement.
Despite challenging global economic and financial events, 2011 was a year of continued growth for the UAE. The core banking businesses of the group contributed 98 per cent of the total net profit, mainly retail, corporate, treasury, investments, Islamic and international presence. Local subsidiaries and associate companies of the group contributed with the remaining two per cent.
The board on Monday proposed the distribution of a cash dividend 100 per cent of capital or Dh1 per share, as well as the distribution of 100 per cent of capital as bonus shares. Each existing share would be eligible for one new share. The cash dividend and distribution of bonus shares are subject to the approval of the respective authorities to be followed by the approval of the ordinary general assembly of shareholders.
"The bank has consistently been paying dividend without interruption since the year 2000. This is the highest ever cash dividend to be paid by FGB to its shareholders and the highest ever bonus share distribution in FGB's history," FGB managing director Abdulhamid Saeed said.
Revenue from its three international locations in Singapore, Qatar and India for 2011 was at Dh109 million, a growth of almost three-fold from Dh37 million in 2010. Due to the growth in the asset book, the net interest and Islamic financing income for the full year 2011 was at Dh5.079 billion, 19 per cent higher than 2010, and the corporate and retail fees and commissions stood at Dh1.201 billion, 19 per cent lower than 2010, mainly on the back of regulatory changes to the retail lending framework implemented in May 2011.
The investment income of Dh62 million was higher than 2010 by 58 per cent. This is the result of a prudent investment strategy focused in 2011 mainly on the fixed income. During 2011, the bank managed to keep its expenses under control at Dh1.22 billion to achieve a cost to income ratio of 18.9 per cent, which is low by local and international standards but slightly higher than the 17.8 per cent achieved in 2010.
The quality of the loan book improved in 2011, the ratio of non-performing loans, or NPLs, measured at 90 days overdue to gross loans excluding exposures to Dubai World and Dubai Holding groups stood, by the end of 2011, at 3.4 per cent, an improvement from the 3.7 per cent at end of 2010. The provision coverage ratio was also improved significantly from 89 per cent in 2010 to 98 per cent in 2011.