First Gulf Bank generated a net income of Dh1.05 billion during the third quarter of this year. Jeff Topping / The National
First Gulf Bank generated a net income of Dh1.05 billion during the third quarter of this year. Jeff Topping / The National

First Gulf Bank has analysts raving over profit growth



First Gulf Bank cheered markets yesterday with its sixth straight quarter of profit growth, with analysts raving that the stock could have further to travel.

The Abu Dhabi bank generated net income of Dh1.05 billion during the third quarter of this year, an increase of 14.5 per cent compared with the same period a year earlier.

The bank's shares rose 1.5 per cent yesterday to Dh10.15 each, the biggest intraday gains for the stock in eight weeks.

"FGB posted an encouraging set of results for the quarter, albeit bottom-line figures were within expectations," wrote Naveed Ahmed, an analyst at Global Investment House, in a research report.

"Non-interest income was eye-catching with a jump of 52 per cent year-on-year but numbers seem inflated due to poor performance in [the third quarter of last year]."

First Gulf Bank's huge dividend payouts have made it a favourite among analysts. The bank surprised markets with a Dh1.5bn dividend payout this time last year, alongside a 1-to-1 share split.

Out of the 17 analysts covering the stock, all but one gave it a "buy" recommendation. The lone dissenter rated the stock a "hold".

On a price-to-earnings basis, First Gulf Bank's stocks are the second-cheapest of the UAE's big five banks, with a multiple of 7.56. Yesterday's rally pipped the bank ahead of Union National Bank, which reported a surprise growth in earnings last week and is the cheapest of the bunch.

"The bank has been delivering on all the key earnings metrics - loan growth continues to be one of the strongest in the sector, provisions are high but within expectations, and asset quality metrics are stable," said Shabbir Malik, a financial analyst at EFG Hermes.

The bank's loan growth had been rapid during the quarter, though its loan-to-deposit ratio of 104 per cent was now "on the high side", Mr Malik added.

First Gulf Bank has taken a different tack from rival UAE lenders, such as National Bank of Abu Dhabi, which have increased the number of countries where they operate, instead choosing to lend more to strong multinational companies.

That strategy was now starting to pay off, Mr Malik said.

A QUIET PLACE

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Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

CREW

Director: Rajesh A Krishnan

Starring: Tabu, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Kriti Sanon

Rating: 3.5/5

FIGHT CARD

Welterweight Mostafa Radi (PAL) v Tohir Zhuraev (TJK)

Catchweight 75kg Leandro Martins (BRA) v Anas Siraj Mounir (MAR)

Flyweight Corinne Laframboise (CAN) v Manon Fiorot (FRA)

Featherweight Ahmed Al Darmaki (UAE) v Bogdan Kirilenko (UZB)

Lightweight Izzedine Al Derabani (JOR) v Atabek Abdimitalipov (KYG)

Featherweight Yousef Al Housani (UAE) v Mohamed Arsharq Ali (SLA)

Catchweight 69kg Jung Han-gook (KOR) v Elias Boudegzdame (ALG)

Catchweight 71kg Usman Nurmagomedov (RUS) v Jerry Kvarnstrom (FIN)

Featherweight title Lee Do-gyeom (KOR) v Alexandru Chitoran (ROU)

Lightweight title Bruno Machado (BRA) v Mike Santiago (USA)

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

If you go

The flights Etihad (www.etihad.com) and Spice Jet (www.spicejet.com) fly direct from Abu Dhabi and Dubai to Pune respectively from Dh1,000 return including taxes. Pune airport is 90 minutes away by road. 

The hotels A stay at Atmantan Wellness Resort (www.atmantan.com) costs from Rs24,000 (Dh1,235) per night, including taxes, consultations, meals and a treatment package.
 

ASSASSIN'S CREED MIRAGE

Developer: Ubisoft Bordeaux
Publisher: Ubisoft
Consoles: PlayStation 4&5, PC and Xbox Series S&X
Rating: 3.5/5