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Bank Audi Full-Year Profit Rises 7% on Interest, Fees

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Jan. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Bank Audi SAL-Audi Saradar Group, the largest lender in Lebanon by assets, said profit rose 7 percent last year as interest income and fees increased.

Net income climbed to 544 billion Lebanese pounds ($362 million) from 508 billion pounds in 2010, the Beirut-based bank said in a statement.

The period “reflects the precautionary policy adopted by management throughout the year to consolidate the bank’s resilience to adverse domestic and regional developments, while continuing to favor operating conditions over growth to sustain its high financial flexibility and efficiency,” the bank said in an e-mailed statement.

A revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad broke in March amid popular movements that toppled leaders in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, while forcing Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh to agree to cede power.

Turkey’s regulator gave a license to Bank Audi in October to set up a bank, the first such permission in more than a decade. Turkey hasn’t awarded a new banking license since a financial crisis in 2001 saw the number of lenders drop to 61 at the start of 2002 from 81 two years earlier.

Net interest income rose to 18 percent to 815 billion pounds, while fee and commission income gained to 278 billion pounds from 263 billion pounds in 2010. Loan provisions more than doubled to 167 billion pounds.

Total assets were $28.7 billion at the end of December and deposits reached $24.7 billion.

To contact the reporter on this story: Massoud A. Derhally in Beirut, Lebanon at mderhally@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net.

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