The Bahrain based leading Islamic banking group, Al Baraka Banking Group B.S.C (ABG) announced a net profit of US$ 150 million for the first half of 2015, reporting an increase of 5% over the net profit of the same period of last year, while the net income of the second quarter of 2015 reached US$ 82 million, increasing by 19% over the net income of the first quarter of 2015.
The balance sheet items achieved moderate increases, as total assets increased by 2%, total financing and investments by 2% and customer accounts by 1% at the end of June 2015 compared to the end December 2014. These results reflect the Group continues to achieve the excellent profit and operational results, benefiting from the large diversification in income sources from different core businesses, where the income from these sources witnessed remarkable growth during the first half of 2015, despite the effects of currencies devaluation and fluctuation in financial and economic situations regionally and internationally.
Commenting on these results, H.E Sheikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel, Chairman of Al Baraka Banking Group, said “The unstable political and economic situations continued during the first half of 2015 regionally and internationally offset by noticeable and perseverance international efforts to enhance recovery and growth prospects in developed and emerging countries and amid restricted regulatory and supervisory environment. All these created challenges for the banking environment in the markets where we operate. But we nevertheless note with satisfaction that ABG continued to achieve good results, which reflects the Group success in following the sound Islamic banking model and precautionary business strategies that enabled it to deal wisely with these developments and to continue expanding its business.”
For his part, Mr. Abdulla Ammar Al Saudi, Vice Chairman of ABG, said that “The financial and operational results achieved during the first half of 2015 reflect the keenness of the Group to grow steadily and efficiently, despite growing regional and global challenges around us, and growing regulatory, technical and human requirements. We were able to keep pace with all these challenges and requirements, committed to the highest professional and ethical values and principles, and thanks to implementation of wise strategies and programs supported by strong financial means, human resources and technical capabilities possessed by the Group and the long experience of its units in the market where they operate.”
Mr. Adnan Ahmed Yousif, Member of the Board of Directors and President & Chief Executive of Al Baraka Banking Group said “the good results that we achieved during the half quarter of 2015 highlight once more our determination to continue to invest our substantial financial resources and expertise and the wide geographic network of the subsidiary units of the Group in maximizing the returns to our shareholders and the investors in the Group by implementing business strategies that are based on expanding the branch network of our units in 15 countries, improving the quality of our products and services, offering more innovative products, strengthening the relationship with our partners, investors and customers and entering new markets, as well as modernizing and developing the human, operational, regulatory and technical infrastructures at the Group and subsidiary banking units levels”.
We are very pleased to see the contribution of all our banking units in the growth of profits of the Group, which reflects the sound financial positions enjoyed by these units. Coincided with this, the cooperation between the Group’s units in trade financing activities for MENA countries have increased, which contributed to the emergence of the role of the Group as a key player in promoting trade and investment between these countries.
With regard to the Group’s plans to expand its branch network, the President & Chief Executive said that “following our adding of 24 new branches in the first half of 2015 to bring total branches to 573 branches, we intend to bring the total of new branches to be opened in 2015 to 54 branches. This reflects our determination to consolidate and expand our activities in the countries where we operate currently.
The President & Chief Executive advised that the Group, during the past months, has been working on leveraging the advantages of the unifying the IT network amongst the units and to modernize the institutional, human and technical infrastructure of the Group, by developing the regulations, applications and practices of social responsibility, corporate governance, training, compliance, AML, risk management and FATCA regulations in according with latest international standards.
During the first half of 2015, the premier rating agency in the world Standard & Poors’ (S&P) had re-affirmed ABG’s rating of BB+ (long term) and B (Short term), upgrading the Outlook to Stable. S&P commented that ABG’s business position is strong, reflecting superior geographic diversification in earnings compared with its peers as well as the competitive benefits its derives from its Islamic banking status. The bank’s strategy is driven by its growth and the risks are mitigated by the quality of management and knowledge of its key markets. S&P added that the bank’s financing book is highly granular and ABG displays resilience in its asset quality.
During the month of June 2015, Al Baraka Turk Participation Bank launched the new core system for its banking business, which connects directly and online the businesses of all its 209 branches. The new system provides a lot of technical and operational features that improve the quality and speed of banking services provided to customers. The project was accomplished in record time of less than two years and it is considered the first of its kind in the Turkish banking industry and at the same time the system is compatible with the principles of Islamic banking. The cost of the project amounted to US $ 11 million.
The President & Chief Executive of the Group added, “We intend to implement many plans and initiatives during 2015. These will include opening new branches, entering new markets, launching new and innovative products and services in our markets, improving the internal operating environment technically and professionally, enhancing the unified culture related to the Group’s corporate identity, increasing inter-unit business amongst Al Baraka Units, as well as enhancing the standing of ABG in the international markets as a whole. We once again stress on our determination to continue to invest our substantial financial resources and expertise and the wide geographic network of the units of the Group towards maximizing the returns for our shareholders and the investors in the Group”.
The President & Chief Executive of ABG concluded his statement by praising the tireless efforts of the executive management at the Group’s Head Office, the executive management teams of the banking units of Al Baraka Banking Group and related parties that were instrumental in achieving these excellent results for the Group.
According to the financial statements of the Group, total operating profit amounted to US$ 502 million in the first half of 2015, which is markedly higher by 13% compared to the first half of 2014 of US$ 445 million. After deducting all operating expenses which increased by 9%, the net operating income for the first half of 2015 amounted to US$ 228 million, increasing remarkably by 18% compared to the first half of 2014.
This reflects the noticeable increases in income from core businesses and the success of the Group to diversify its income from fees, commissions and banking services and despite the negative effects of currency fluctuations. After deducting taxes and provisions, the net income of the Group reached US$ 150 million for the first half of 2015, up by 5% compared to the first half of 2014 of US$ 143 million. Net income attributable to equity shareholders of the parent amounted to US$ 85 million compared to US$ 80 million for the same period last year.
With regard to the results of the second quarter of this year compared with the results of the first quarter of the same year, the total operating income increased by 11% to reach US$ 264 million. After deducting all expenses and provisions, the net income for the second quarter of the year 2015 amounted to US$ 82 million, compared with US$ 69 million during the first quarter of the same year, a significant increase of 19%. In the other hand, if we compared the second quarter income to the same period last year, it shows an increase of 7%. Net income attributable to equity shareholders of the parent for the second quarter amounted to US$ 45 million compared to US$ 44 million for the same period last year.
The balance sheet items witnessed moderate increases which were affected by the fluctuations in currency exchanges in some main markets where the Group’s units operate. The Group’s total assets increased by 2% to reach US$ 24 billion as at the end of June 2015. The operating assets (financing and investments) amounted to US$ 17.9 billion as at the end of June 2015 compared to US$ 17.6 billion at the end of December 2014, an increase of 2%. Customer accounts increased by 1% to US$ 20 billion as at the end of June 2015, representing 82% of total assets, which highlighted the strength of the customer deposits base. Total shareholders’ equity amounted to US$ 2 billion as at the end of June 2015.
On this occasion, H.E. Sheikh Saleh Abdulla Kamel, Chairman of Al Baraka Banking Group, Mr. Abdulla Ammar Al Saudi, Vice Chairman, Mr. Abdulla Saleh Kamel, Vice Chairman, and Mr. Adnan Ahmed Yousif, President & Chief Executive and all Members of the Board of Directors of ABG expressed their sincere thanks to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Central Bank of Bahrain, Bahrain Bourse and Nasdaq Dubai for the cooperation and assistance they extended to the Group since it was established. They also extended their thanks to all the Central Banks in the countries in which Group’s banks operate and to all the investors and customers for their continued support. The Board also thanked all the employees of the Group for their loyalty, hard work and dedication, all of which have contributed to the successes and achievements of the Group.
Al Baraka Banking Group (B.S.C) is licensed as an Islamic wholesale bank by the Central Bank of Bahrain, listed on Bahrain Bourse and Nasdaq Dubai stock exchanges. It is a leading international Islamic banking group providing its unique services in countries with a population totaling around one billion. It is jointly rated BBB+ (long term) / A3 (short term) on the international scale and A+ (bh) (long term) / A2 (bh) (short term) on the national scale with a Stable outlook by Islamic International Rating Agency & Dagong Global Credit Rating Company Limited, and by Standard & Poor’s at BB+ (long term) / B (short term) with a Stable outlook. Al Baraka offers retail, corporate, treasury and investment banking services, strictly in accordance with the principles of the Islamic Shari’a. The authorized capital of Al Baraka is US$ 1.5 billion, while total equity is at about US$ 2 billion.
The Group has a wide geographical presence in the form of subsidiary banking units and representative offices in fifteen countries, which in turn provide their services through over 573 branches. Al Baraka currently has a strong presence in Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Sudan, Bahrain, Pakistan, South Africa, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, including two representative offices in Indonesia and Libya.