Jordan's Arab Bank posts 4% rise in first-half profits

First-half performance driven by growth in core banking income

A general view of the Arab Bank in Amman, Jordan, October 25, 2017. REUTERS/Mohammed Hamed
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Arab Bank Group, Jordan’s largest lender and biggest publicly traded firm on the Amman bourse, reported profits rose by 4 per cent year-on-year in the first half of 2019, driven by growth in core banking income.

Net profit for the first six months of the year rose to $453 million (Dh1.66 billion) from $436m in the first half of 2018, Arab Bank Group said in a statement on Saturday. The lender did not provide figures for second-quarter earnings.

"The underlying performance of the group continues on its growth path with first half results recording a healthy increase of 5 per cent in net operating income," said Nemeh Sabbagh, chief executive of Arab Bank. "The strong performance was driven by growth in core banking income with net interest income increasing by 5 per cent."

The bank, which has assets that stood at over $47bn last year, operates in 30 countries on five continents, and owns a stake in Saudi Arabia’s Arab National Bank ANB.

Arab Bank did not provide figures for first-half revenues.

Total loans increased by 3 per cent to reach $26.2bn, although the bank did not say by how much the amount rose year-on-year. Deposits increased by 3 per cent to reach $34.1bn and group equity stood at $8.7bn.

The bank's capital adequacy ratio stood at 15.8 per cent and loan to deposit ratio at 76.9 per cent as of June 30. The credit provisions held against non-performing loans exceed 100 per cent, Arab Bank said.

The bank expects to "continue delivering strong results and sustainable growth", according to Sabih Masri, chairman of the board of directors.

The group generated strong first-half results “despite the continued slowdown of economic growth in the region," Mr Masri said.