Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 13 December 2019

Bahrain NBB reports 16.4% 2Q profit gain despite rise in impairment charges

The first-half income of the lender also rose, climbing 8.7 per cent to 40m Bahraini dinars

National Bank of Bahrain chief executive Jean-Christophe Durand says the lender is focused on regional expansion. Courtesy NBB
National Bank of Bahrain chief executive Jean-Christophe Durand says the lender is focused on regional expansion. Courtesy NBB

National Bank of Bahrain, the Manama-headquartered lender, reported a 14.6 per cent year-on-year rise in its second quarter net income despite a rise in provisions for bad loans.

Net income for the three months ending June 30, rose to 19.6 million (Dh191.44m) Bahraini dinars, it said in a statement to the Bahrain bourse where its shares trade. Provisions for non-performing loans climbed to 1.5m dinars at the end of the three-month period, up from 0.9m dinars recorded for the corresponding period in 2018, it added.

The first half income of the lender, rose 8.7 per cent to 40m dinars, while provisions for bad loans doubled to 4.7m dinars in the first six months of the year.

A rise in net interest income by 16.8 per cent to 48m dinars helped the lender solidify its bottom line. Improvements were driven by prudent asset liabilities management and the acquisition of new customers from across the NBB’s business lines, it added.

The first half of 2019 “reflect the success of the transformation underway at NBB”, Jean-Christophe Durand, chief executive of NBB, said. “Gains in operating income and profits during the period were the result of further business expansion and growth as well as the prudent management of costs.”

The bank, he said, is focused on increasing its contribution to Bahrain’s economy and increased lending to retail, small and large corporate clients by 2 per cent during the first half.

“We are now focused on taking a more leading role alongside other sizeable regional banks in the provision of financing and syndications,” he noted.

NBB plans to increase the number of branches in the two biggest Arab economies – Saudi Arabia and the UAE – as it looks to double the size of its debt capital market and advisory business to $10 billion (Dh36.72bn) in next two years and launch wealth management services in partnership with an international player.

The bank has already received approval from the Central Bank of the UAE for “reactivation” of its branch licence in Dubai, Mr Durand, told The National last month.

The lender, which has maintained a branch in Abu Dhabi for more than two decades, is in the planning stage to open its branch in Dubai, the commercial and trading hub of the Middle East, which will focus more on corporate and commercial banking operations, including lending to mid-cap companies.

Updated: July 16, 2019 05:30 PM