Bahrain’s Al-Baraka Banking Group has reported a 19 per cent fall in its fourth-quarter profits compared to the same time a year earlier, to $16.6m.

The bank has also reported full-year profits of $167m in 2009, compared to $201m in 2008. The fall was the result of provisions against bad debts, which the bank described as “a precautionary measure and prudent policy to guard against any possible untoward developments”.

Total assets rose to $13.2bn at the end of 2009, from $10.9bn, and customer deposits rose by 24 per cent to $11bn.

The bank also said it had received permission from the Central Bank of Pakistan to convert its 29 branches in the country into a locally-incorporated Islamic bank, from their current status as a foreign licensed operation. Al-Baraka also plans to launch operations in Indonesia in 2010.