Arab Banking Corporation (ABC) has announced a 15 per cent drop in profits for 1994 after a turbulent year for the Bahrain-based banking group.

Group-wide consolidated operating profits before provisions, tax and minority interests fell by 44 per cent to $225 million.

Last year proved tough for most international banks as rising interest rates created turmoil in the bond markets, adversely affecting investment activity.

However, ABC was faced with the additional problem of finding a new president to head the institution after Abdullah Saudi announced his resignation in February. Saudi, who stood down on 1 May, founded the bank in 1980.

The new president, Ahmed Abdullatif is due to take charge in April or May, although no precise date has been set. Abdullatif will move from his post as managing director of Saudi Arabia’s Riyad Bank.

Despite the overall fall in profits, ABC group assets grew by 5 per cent to about $19,500 million.

Total deposits, including certificates of deposit, increased by 6 per cent to around $16,400 million.

The board of directors has recommended a 6 per cent dividend, unchanged from 1993 when the dividend was raised by 20 per cent. The recommendation will go before shareholders at the annual meeting to be held on 9 April.