AMMAN, (Reuters) – Jordan-based Arab Bank, one of the Middle East’s major financial institutions, said on Saturday its third-quarter net profit rose 28.3 percent to $494.9 million from a year ago with strong growth in diversified business.
The improvement was due largely to a rise in operating revenue from core corporate, retail and investment business, said chairman and CEO Abdel Hamid Shoman told Reuters in a statement.
Total assets rose to $30.5 billion at the end of September, up from $27.7 billion from the same period last year.
Bankers say Arab Bank has benefited from a booming regional business environment, with the bank’s project-related finance and trade operations in the Gulf gaining a windfall from high oil prices.
The bank plans a listing on the Dubai and Abu Dhabi financial markets to widen its investor base and has already consolidated its European operations to expand its presence through acquisitions.
Arab Bank announced last month it had agreed with Lebanese Bank Med, owned by Lebanon’s Hariri family, to buy 91 percent of Turkey’s unlisted MNG Bank.
A capital hike earlier this year doubled the bank’s paid-up capital to 365 million dinars ($502 million) via a private placement to existing shareholders and raised shareholders’ equity to $5.4 billion.
It is largest banking group by equity in the Arab world. Shareholders’ equity rose to $5.7 billion at the end of September against $3.8 billion, forming around 18.8 percent of total assets, the bank said.
Arab Bank shares closed down 0.16 percent at 24.41 dinars at the end of trading on Thursday, dealers said. The market closes Friday and Saturday.
Shoman said the total balance sheet of the bank rose to $42.2 billion at the end of September compared to $37.5 billion in the same period last year.
Net loans rose to $13.4 billion at the end of September against $11.5 billion from the same period last year, constituting 44 percent of assets.
Core deposits rose at the end of September to $20.4 billion the bank said, adding it formed 67.1 percent of the source of funds.
Arab Bank Group has a network of 400 branches and subsidiaries in 28 countries and five continents.
The bank owns 40 percent of Saudi Arabia’s Arab National Bank.
Shareholders of the bank include the family of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, and Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Among them are the region’s most successful private enterprise businessmen and emigre Palestinian tycoons.