x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Bumper year for National Bank of Abu Dhabi

National Bank of Abu Dhabi's profits soar, but the bank's chief executive, Michael Tomalin, expects bad debts to rise and lending remains tight.

National Bank of Abu Dhabi reported a bumper end to the year, beating analysts' estimates and reining in impairments.

Net profits for the full year rose 21.9 per cent to Dh3.68bn, with the fourth quarter accounting for a spike in earnings of 71 per cent to Dh732m.

In a statement, Nasser Alsowaidi, chairman, said: "Economic activity in the United Arab Emirates rebounded modestly reflecting global trends. NBAD continues to perform strongly in a subdued and still challenging local and international operating conditions. The Group's business model has been the underlying strength to its sturdy and consistent performance."

Operating profits improved throughout the year, driven by a 12.9 per cent increase in net interest income to Dh5.017bn.

The bank improved access to loans, with loans and advances increasing 3.4 per cent to Dh136.8bn.

The bank saw a sharp decrease in impairments, falling 14.3 per cent for the year, but bad debts nevertheless swiped Dh1.2bn from the bank's bottom line.

The bank also revealed its exposure to Egypt, which accounts for 7 per cent of the group's assets. "The bank has cross border exposure on Egyptian entities of some $400m (Dh1.469bn)," the bank said in a statement. "We are committed to our people and customers and are monitoring the position on a daily basis."

NBAD's branches in Egypt are currently closed.