Mashreq profits soar 85% in third quarter



Mashreq almost doubled profits in the third quarter as it notched up a year of steadily improving quarterly earnings and is looking increasingly like a turnaround story.

The Dubai bank reported an 85 per cent rise in net profits in the third quarter to Dh379.1 million. It was the fourth quarter of steadily improving earnings for Mashreq, which had until this year struggled to resume lending.

Total loans have increased 9.3 per cent to Dh35 billion this year until the end of September, reflecting above-trend credit growth.

Total UAE lending grew by 1.8 per cent to Dh1.09 trillion at the end of August, according to the latest data. Figures for last month were not available.

Mashreq stocks have fallen 39.8 per cent this year to Dh55 each, so it might look oversold in light of four straight quarters of growth.

However, investors may struggle to buy into the bank's stocks which are illiquid and have traded on just 12 days so far this year.

The bank's loan book has contracted by as much as 31.5 per cent since 2008 as it wound down bad debts and set aside capital to cover additional charges during each consecutive year.

With Dubai's economy recovering, profits are also expected to increase in the coming months, a Fitch Ratings report last month on the bank said.

"Revenue generation remains under pressure, due to the bank's past focus on de-risking and deleveraging," said the report. "Following the working through of some of its large problem loans combined with a change in strategy, Fitch expects core earnings to pick up from current levels, particularly as the operating environment is slightly improving."

Mashreq may enjoy something of a first-mover advantage among UAE banks for branching out into accounts denominated in the Chinese yuan this year.

However, it will have to focus on small to mid-sized companies since rivals such as HSBC, Standard Chartered and Industrial Commercial Bank of China will are likely to dominate lending to the big names.

But that might not matter as long as the Chinese small business segment is booming.

If you go:
The flights: Etihad, Emirates, British Airways and Virgin all fly from the UAE to London from Dh2,700 return, including taxes
The tours: The Tour for Muggles usually runs several times a day, lasts about two-and-a-half hours and costs £14 (Dh67)
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is on now at the Palace Theatre. Tickets need booking significantly in advance
Entrance to the Harry Potter exhibition at the House of MinaLima is free
The hotel: The grand, 1909-built Strand Palace Hotel is in a handy location near the Theatre District and several of the key Harry Potter filming and inspiration sites. The family rooms are spacious, with sofa beds that can accommodate children, and wooden shutters that keep out the light at night. Rooms cost from £170 (Dh808).

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

THE SPECS

Engine: 4.0L twin-turbo V8

Gearbox: eight-speed automatic

Power: 571hp at 6,000rpm

Torque: 800Nm from 2,000-4,500rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 11.4L/100km

Price, base: from Dh571,000

On sale: this week

World Cricket League Division 2

In Windhoek, Namibia - Top two teams qualify for the World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe, which starts on March 4.

UAE fixtures

Thursday February 8, v Kenya; Friday February 9, v Canada; Sunday February 11, v Nepal; Monday February 12, v Oman; Wednesday February 14, v Namibia; Thursday February 15, final

Company Profile

Company name: Big Farm Brothers

Started: September 2020

Founders: Vishal Mahajan and Navneet Kaur

Based: Dubai Investment Park 1

Industry: food and agriculture

Initial investment: $205,000

Current staff: eight to 10

Future plan: to expand to other GCC markets

Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now

Diriyah project at a glance

- Diriyah’s 1.9km King Salman Boulevard, a Parisian Champs-Elysees-inspired avenue, is scheduled for completion in 2028
- The Royal Diriyah Opera House is expected to be completed in four years
- Diriyah’s first of 42 hotels, the Bab Samhan hotel, will open in the first quarter of 2024
- On completion in 2030, the Diriyah project is forecast to accommodate more than 100,000 people
- The $63.2 billion Diriyah project will contribute $7.2 billion to the kingdom’s GDP
- It will create more than 178,000 jobs and aims to attract more than 50 million visits a year
- About 2,000 people work for the Diriyah Company, with more than 86 per cent being Saudi citizens

The Matrix Resurrections

Director: Lana Wachowski

Stars: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Jessica Henwick 

Rating:****

Dolittle

Director: Stephen Gaghan

Stars: Robert Downey Jr, Michael Sheen

One-and-a-half out of five stars

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Equestrian

Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).

Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming

Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics

Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

MEDIEVIL (1998)

Developer: SCE Studio Cambridge
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation, PlayStation 4 and 5
Rating: 3.5/5

Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus

Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation 2 to 5
Rating: 5/5

The results of the first round are as follows:

Qais Saied (Independent): 18.4 per cent

Nabil Karoui (Qalb Tounes): 15.58 per cent

Abdelfattah Mourou (Ennahdha party): 12.88 per cent

Abdelkarim Zbidi (two-time defence minister backed by Nidaa Tounes party): 10.7 per cent

Youssef Chahed (former prime minister, leader of Long Live Tunisia): 7.3 per cent


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