FGB and Union National Bank join ranks of outperforming lenders

FGB, UNB join roster of UAE banks beating analyst profit expectations during the third quarter 

Union National Bank had a net income of Dh548.6m in the three-month period that ended September 30. Pawan Singh / The National
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FGB and Union National Bank joined the country’s biggest banks in reporting third-quarter profit that exceeded expectations.

FGB, formerly known as First Gulf Bank, and UNB also join most banks in heading towards another record year of earnings.

FGB said its third quarter income rose 20 per cent to Dh1.43 billion compared to Dh1.19bn in the same period last year.

The mean estimate of six analysts polled by Bloomberg was Dh1.35bn.

Non-interest revenues jumped 39 per cent year-on-year to Dh733 million thanks to more income from fees and commissions as well as investments, property sales and revenue from its subsidiaries.

The bank said loans and advances gained 6 per cent during the quarter to reach Dh132.7bn, compared to the corresponding period last year. That was driven by demand across a number of sectors including services, transportation, manufacturing and consumer financing, the bank said.

“During the third quarter of this year we continued to achieve outstanding results as our group reaps the rewards of our established successful business model focusing on diversification, specialisation, customer-centricity, and enhanced cross-sell across core businesses and selected geographies,” said Andre Sayegh, the chief executive of FGB.

“We are continuing to build on the recent enhancements within our internal structure, to extend our capabilities and further strengthen our balance sheet, ratios and overall market position. We are on the right track to achieve another record performance at the close of 2014, ensuring the sustainable and disciplined future growth of our operations.”

Banks in the UAE have been the biggest beneficiaries of an economic resurgence that propelled GDP growth to more than 4 per cent last year as corporations and individuals took bank loans for everything from refinancing old debt to new homes and cars. But because interest rates are low, this has meant banks – of which there are more than 50 servicing a population of 9 million in the UAE – have had to vie for clients and search for other ways to make money apart the interest they make on loans in fields that include trade finance, asset management and securities brokerage.

Emirates NBD, Dubai’s biggest bank, was among the other large banks in the UAE that reported third quarter profit last week which exceeded the expectations of analysts.

UNB had net income of Dh548.6m in the three-month period that ended September 30 compared to Dh450.3m in the same stretch last year, it said.

Five analysts polled by Reuters forecast an average quarterly profit of Dh525.2m.

Loans and advances gained 7 per cent to Dh64bn at the end of September versus the same period last year, UNB said. Deposits dropped 4 per cent to Dh62.7bn during the same period.

“The focus for the UNB Group remains on sustainably growing its franchise and business,” said Mohammad Nasr Abdeen, UNB’s chief executive. “The key to success of the group’s business model is its strong customer-oriented strategy, providing a wide array of award-winning products and services and persistent endeavour to enhance customer experience”.

Elsewhere, Mashreq, a Dubai-based lender, said its profit advanced 26.1 per cent in the third quarter. Net income advanced to Dh596.8m from Dh473.2m a year earlier, it said.


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