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First Gulf Jumps to 4-Year High on Dividend Bet: Abu Dhabi Mover

Jan. 23 (Bloomberg) -- First Gulf Bank PJSC advanced to the highest level in more than four years on bets the Abu Dhabi-based lender will boost its full-year dividend above its peers when it reports results next week.

Shares of the bank, which is controlled by Abu Dhabi’s ruling family, rose 2.1 percent to 12.10 dirhams, the strongest level since August 2008, at the close in Abu Dhabi. The stock led a gain of 1.1 percent for the benchmark ADX General Index, the biggest advance since Jan. 2. First Gulf Bank, which was the second-best performing bank on the gauge last year, has increased 3 percent this week.

First Gulf Bank will offer a 7 percent dividend yield, JPMorgan Chase & Co. estimated in October, raising its price estimate for the bank to 13.5 dirhams. That compares with 4.5 percent for the ADX Banks Index. Net income for 2012 probably climbed 7 percent to 3.97 billion dirhams (1.08 billion), the average estimate of 12 analysts compiled by Bloomberg shows.

“Investors are anticipating handsome dividends for 2012” amid higher profitability, said Nabil Farhat, a partner at Abu Dhabi-based Al Fajer Securities.

First Gulf Bank will probably post the fastest loan growth in the United Arab Emirates in 2013, helping boost profit, EFG-Hermes Holding SAE said last month, maintaining its buy rating on the stock.

Sixteen analysts recommend investors buy the shares of First Gulf Bank, and one has a sell rating on the stock, according data compiled by Bloomberg. The bank will probably post results on Jan. 28, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zahra Hankir in Dubai at zhankir@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Maedler at cmaedler@bloomberg.net

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