U.A.E.'s First Gulf Bank Full-Year Profit Tops Analyst Estimates

  • Bank proposes 100 percent cash dividend, or 1 dirham a share
  • Other operating income gains 51 percent to 1.3 billion dirhams

First Gulf Bank PJSC reported a better-than-expected six percent rise in full-year profit as the United Arab Emirates’ third-biggest bank was helped by non-operating income.

Net income advanced to 6.01 billion dirhams ($1.64 billion) from 5.66 billion a year earlier, the Abu Dhabi-based lender said in an e-mailed statement on Sunday. The mean estimate of nine analysts was for a profit of 5.74 billion dirhams, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Other operating income, usually from investing and asset sales, jumped 51 percent to 1.3 billion dirhams and the lender proposed a cash dividend of 1 dirham a share.

"We grew the contribution of non-interest income sources to 32 percent of total revenues, up from 28 percent in 2014," Chief Executive Officer André Sayegh said in the statement. This "is aligned with our strategy to broaden and deepen the relationship with our customers complementing our lending activity."

Banks in the U.A.E. have gained as government spending on infrastructure as well as the country’s trade and property industries recovered from the global financial crisis, helping drive lending. An almost 70 percent slump in crude oil prices since June 2014 may slow growth this year as state spending declines and loan-loss charges rise again, Standard & Poor’s said earlier this month.

A shareholder in First Gulf Bank, part owned by the government and the Al Nahyan ruling family, canceled a share sale valued at about 1.2 billion dirhams, according to people familiar with the matter. The shares surged the most in more than a decade. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC, the U.A.E.’s fourth-biggest bank, earlier today reported a 22 percent rise in annual profit to 4.92 billion dirhams.

FGB’s shares surged 12 percent to 11.35 dirhams on Sunday, the biggest jump since May 2005, before results were announced.They have fallen 10 percent this year, compared with a decline of 9.2 percent in the Bloomberg GCC 200 Index, a measure of stocks in the Gulf region.

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