Banque International Arabe de Tunisie profits fall

03 February 2003
Banque Internationale Arabe de Tunisie (BIAT), Tunisia's largest private bank, on 3 February announced a 33.3 per cent fall in net profits to TD 22.4 million ($17.2 million) for 2002. BIAT blamed falling income from foreign exchange trading and increased provisioning for the slump. Income from foreign exchange operations was down 14.8 per cent to TD 12.9 million ($9.8 million), as the tourist industry was hit by the general economic downturn and the April bombing of a synagogue on the island of Djerba. Tunisia's total tourism receipts dropped 14 per cent in to TD 2,023 million ($1,489 million - MEED 10:1:03). The bank's provisions climbed 19.7 per cent to TD 114.4 million ($87.3 million). Gross earnings grew 10.8 per cent to TD 237.1 million ($20.7 million) and assets were up 5.3 per cent to TD 2,800 million ($2,137 million). BIAT shareholders include Italy's Sao Paulo Bank, Morocco's Wafabank, Saudi Arabia's National Commercial Bank, Kuwait's Al-Ahli Bankand France's Banque Populaire.

Two other private Tunisian banks have reported disappointing results. On 30 January, privately-owned Banque de Tunisie (BT)announced a marginal four per cent rise in profits to TD 30 million ($23.3 million), and on 31 January, Tunisian-French Union Bancaire pour le Commerce et l'Industrie (UBCI), announced a 59 per cent fall in profits to TD 7.5 million ($5.8 million). Average profits for Tunisia's ten biggest banks fell 8.3 per cent in the first half of 2002, and the decline was expected to worsen for the full year.

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