FAB's profit soars to Dh12.5b

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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - ROAD AHEAD: FAB is starting off 2020 with a robust capital position, enabling it to support future growth plans in the UAE. - File photo

The bank's operating income surged four per cent to Dh20.2 billion.

First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), the UAE's largest bank, announced on Tuesday that its net profit for 2019 rose four per cent to Dh12.5 billion, marking "solid performance in a year of growth and transformation."

The bank said its operating income surged four per cent to Dh20.2 billion, driven by the solid underlying performance of core businesses in a challenging environment.

In the fourth quarter, FAB reported a five per cent rise in profit due to an increase in non-interest income, but like other rivals also saw a steep jump in impairment charges.

FAB, which was created in 2017 by the merger of two Abu Dhabi-based lenders, saw its assets grow 10 per cent in 2019 to $224 billion making it the second largest Arab bank in terms of assets after Qatar National Bank.

The bank's Board of Directors, chaired by   Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has recommended the distribution of a cash dividend per share of 74 fils, implying total cash dividends of Dh8.08 billion for the full year ended 31 December 2019.

A bank statement said FAB has a robust capital position with a Common Equity Tier 1 ratio of 13.5 per cent, up from 12.4 per cent in 2018, and comfortably in excess of regulatory requirements.

While loans and advances grew 16 per cent year-on-year and eight per cent sequentially to Dh408 billion, customer deposits rose 12 per cent year-on-year and nine per cent sequentially to Dh519 billion, the bank said.

Sheikh Tahnoon said 2019 marked another year of growth for FAB, despite challenging market conditions regionally and internationally. "The group's solid financial results for the full year of 2019 are testament to the strength of our leading corporate and retail businesses, and demonstrate clear progress in our strategy as we continue to better serve our clients in the UAE and across our global network."

He said the bank is starting off 2020 with a robust capital position, enabling it to support our future growth plans in the UAE and across strategic markets.

Abdulhamid Saeed, Group Chief Executive Officer of the bank, said the results were driven by the solid underlying performance of FAB's core businesses despite challenging operating conditions, including a reversal of the interest rate cycle in the second half of the year."

"In 2019, the group outperformed market growth across key segments, while maintaining risk discipline, which resulted in higher risk-adjusted returns year-on-year. Investments in key strategic and digital initiatives enabled us to enhance customer experience, support business productivity, and position the Group for future growth and ongoing agility. FAB presents solid fundamentals as of December-end 2019 with improved liquidity and funding ratios, a robust capital position, and healthy risk metrics," said Saeed.

"Looking ahead, we remain firmly committed to maximising shareholder returns, and supporting our employees, customers and the communities we operate within as we grow stronger, together," he said. - [email protected]

 

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Issac John

Editorial Director of Al Khaleej Today, is a well-connected Indian journalist and an economic and financial commentator. He has been in the UAE's mainstream journalism for 35 years, including 23 years with Al Khaleej Today. A post-graduate in English and graduate in economics, he has won over two dozen awards. Acclaimed for his authentic and insightful analysis of global and regional businesses and economic trends, he is respected for his astute understanding of the local business scene.

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