ADCB shares surge despite Dubai World provisions

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank was the biggest winner on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange yesterday after the lender reported profits in the fourth quarter after losses in the same period last year.

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Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) shares surged after the lender reported it had swung to a profit last year.That was despite the bank putting aside more than Dh1 billion as cover for its exposure to the indebted Dubai World.

The shares, listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX), closed 5.2 per cent higher at Dh2.20 a share.

ADCB reported net profits of Dh371 million in the fourth quarter last year, up from a loss of Dh1.21bn in the same period of 2009, beating analyst expectations. Shares were up as much as 5 per cent in the first half of the trading session yesterday.

"The bank's previous practice of high level of disclosure and transparency, even at the toughest times, leads us to believe that there would be no negative surprises once full financials are released, and that the current provisioning [is] a good indicator of the bank's asset quality," said Mahdi Mattar, the head of research at CAPM Investments in Abu Dhabi.

The ADX General Index closed flat at 2,668.66, while the Dubai Financial Market General Index gained 0.2 per cent to 1,627.97.

Aramex, the Middle East's largest courier company, gained 1.8 per cent to Dh2.17, its highest in three months. The company said it planned to make two acquisitions this quarter and expected positive fourth-quarter results, according to Fadi Ghandour, its chief executive.

Drake & Scull International, Dubai's second-biggest contractor, gained 0.9 per cent to Dh1.12.

Elsewhere in the region: Kuwait's measure remained unchanged at 6,976.00; Bahrain's measure gained 0.4 per cent to 1,460.67; Oman's index lost 0.5 per cent to 6,943.10; and Qatar's bourse was flat at 9,020.24. The Saudi Tadawul All-Share Index declined 0.2 per cent to 6,710.10.