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Arab Bank Group reports net profits of $846.5 million for 2019

AMMAN: The Arab Bank Group closed 2019 with a net income of $846.5 million after tax compared with $820.5 million in 2018, recording a growth of 3.2 per cent.

Net income before tax grew to reach $1.15 billion compared with $1.12 billion in 2018, while its equity grew to reach $9.102 billion with a return on equity of 9.3 per cent, according to an Arab Bank Group statement made available to The Jordan Times on Saturday.

In view of 2019’s results, the Group’s Board of Directors has recommended to its shareholders a distribution of 30 per cent cash dividends for the fiscal year 2019, making a total dividend payout of over $270 million, the statement said.

The group’s net operating income grew by 5 per cent, driven by growth in interest and fee income, while credit facilities grew by 1.2 per cent to reach $26.1 billion. Customer deposits increased by 6 per cent, or almost $2 billion, to reach $36.2 billion.

Revenues grew by 4.6 per cent to reach $2.23 billion, and generated from both the local and international networks, with revenues from international networks amounting to nearly 70 per cent of total revenues. Total expenses recorded a decrease of 3 per cent from 2018, according to the statement.

The group managed to further grow its equity by 5 per cent during the year to reach over $9 billion despite the exceptional distribution of 45 per cent cash dividend for the year 2018, following the dismissal of the legal case.

Chairman of the Board of Directors Sabih Masri, stated that the “strong performance confirms the success of the group in dealing with the challenging and changing operating environment and reflects the group’s prudent operating policies”.

The group’s broad network across countries in the region and globally provides the benefit of diversified sources of income, Masri said, adding that it has demonstrated that it has the “right strategy and footprint to deliver value for its shareholders”, according to the statement.

Chief Executive Officer Nemeh Sabbagh stated that Arab Bank continues to deliver consistent and sustained growth, while investing for the future through “the prudent and efficient deployment of capital, and by building a resilient balance sheet through its disciplined and proactive approach to risk management”.

Sabbagh added while the operating environment for most regional economies remains challenging, “Arab Bank’s strength, its broad and loyal customer base, diversified business model and wide geographical diversification, and its ability to leverage its unique brand and global network ensured that the performance of the group remained strong”.

Sabbagh also stated that “the solid results of Arab Bank Group for 2019 were driven by sustainable growth in the underlying business and by well controlled expenses”.

The group’s loan-to-deposit ratio stood at 72.1 per cent while the capital adequacy ratio calculated in accordance with Basel III regulations is at 16.2 per cent. Asset quality of the group remains high and credit provisions held against non-performing loans continue to be above 100 per cent, according to the statement.

Masri concluded by remarking that the encouraging results will continue to support the strong financial performance of the group and its position in its markets and that the bank will maintain its strong financial position and will aim to deliver to its shareholders healthy and sustainable dividends.

Arab Bank was named “The Middle East’s Best Bank 2019” by Euromoney — London and “Best Bank in the Middle East for 2019” by Global Finance, New York, for the fourth year consecutively, according to the statement.

Financial statements for 2019 are subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Jordan, the statement concluded.