The number of shares in the bank will be increased by 20 million to 45 million, bringing capital up to £E 315 million ($68 million). The Arab bank will purchase 16 million of the new shares, and is expected to buy a further 2 million free-floating shares to bring its stake up to 40 per cent. A further 4 million shares will take the form of a rights issue at par of £E 7 ($1.5).

News of the capital increase pushed the bank’s share price up. AWB was trading at the end of March at just over £E 20 ($4.3).

The general meeting also approved a board decision to transfer £E 10 million ($2.2 million) from the announced net profit for 2001 to bolster reserves. This move brings down the net profit for the year to £E 97.8 million ($21.2 million – MEED 1:3:02). The bank’s assets at the end of 2001 were £E 5,597 million ($1,217 million).