x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

First Gulf prospers in financial turmoil

Abu Dhabi-based First Gulf Bank shrugs off financial turmoil and reports third quarter net profit of Dh850 million.

First Gulf Bank (FGB), based in Abu Dhabi, reported third quarter net profit of Dh850 million (US$232m), up five per cent from the previous quarter. The cumulative three quarter profit of Dh2.3 billion from the start of the year is a 68 per cent year-on-year increase from last year, the company said. "Our core banking operations have proven to be the mainstay of our profitability which has been further boosted by our subsidiaries and associate companies... in line with our prudent strategy of international diversification... We will soon start operating in the UK and Qatar, and later on in India and China," said Andre Sayegh, the chief executive of FGB.

The firm's loan book grew by 16 per cent over the quarter to Dh75bn with customer deposits growing nine per cent to Dh67bn. "It was the only bank in our coverage to report a quarter-on-quarter rise in profits," said Deepak Tolani, a research analyst with Al Mal Capital. "Loan book growth will slow, as funding will be an issue for all the banks and deposits cannot keep pace with the growth in the loan book. A pace of 35 to 40 per cent a year for FGB would be more sustainable in our opinion." shamdan@thenational.ae