Bahrain Middle East Bank (BMB) says its net profits rose by 70 per cent in 1996 to $9.5 million, boosted by high returns from the issue of high-yield securities and profits on foreign exchange trading. BMB also managed to keep down the rate of growth in its expenses.

BMB carries out a range of investment and trading activities for clients in the Gulf. Net profits in 1995 were $5.6 million: profits have risen dramatically since 1993, when a new management team took over the bank. Total assets stood at $646 million at the end of 1996 compared to $454 million in 1995 (Banking, MEED Special Report, 20:11:96, page 13).

An important contribution to BMB’s performance in 1996 came from the issue of $200 million worth of collateralised bond obligations (CBO) – a high-yield security – through BMB’s special-purpose vehicle, Global Diversified CBO Limited. Income from other investment and trading activities also rose during the year. The bank is 28.6 per cent owned by Burgan Bank of Kuwait and the rest by Gulf investors. It was recently rated by Moody’s Investors Service, the US credit ratings agency (MEED 3:1:97).