Bahrain’s Arab Banking Corporation (ABC) announced profit for the first quarter of 2011 at $48m, 17 per cent higher than the first quarter of last year.

Total revenues increased by $27m for the same period, due to increased income from loans coupled with higher interest rates. Operating expenses totalled $99m this quarter, compared to $88m for the same in 2010.

Shareholders’ equity at 31 March 2011 stood at $3.48bn compared to $3.42bn at the end of 2010.

ABC total assets stood at $28.3bn at the end of the first quarter compared with $28.1bn at the end of 2010, representing a modest growth in loans and a reduction in securities as the bank increased its liquid reserves.

The bank is currently focusing on replacing business lost in Libya with customers in other parts of the region.

“The Group operates or undertakes business in several countries in the Middle East & North Africa (Mena) region in which serious social and political unrest has occurred over the course of the first quarter. We are closely monitoring developments in these countries and have taken steps to mitigate any adverse impact on our operations,” says Hassan Juma, president and chief executive officer of ABC.