Arab Banking Corporation (ABC) has rep-orted an 11 per cent increase in net profits during 1996 to $129 million, compared with $116 million last year. The Bahrain-based bank says total deposits rose by just above 7 per cent to $19,000 million, while loans and advances rose by 5.6 per cent to $11,300 million.

However, ABC’s gross operating profits from its worldwide operations fell to $242 million from $266 million, a decline of about 9 per cent. At the time MEED went to press, ABC officials were not available to comment on the results.

ABC, one of the largest banks in the Arab world, specialises in commercial banking and trade finance, with an investment banking unit in Bahrain. The bank also has a network of subsidiaries and affiliates – the largest of which are Spain’s Banco Atlantico and International Bank of Asia in Hong Kong – and is setting up an Islamic bank. ABC also has a new chief executive, former Gulf International Bank general manager Ghazi Abdul- Jawad. An external review of the bank’s strategy by consultants Arthur Andersen is due to be completed in the next few months.