The bank, now the largest in the Middle East by assets, says that profits during the three months to 30 June reached AED1.47bn ($400m), with total assets rising to AED286bn, up 12.4 per cent on the same period in 2007.

A total of AED200m of synergies have been achieved so far, which the bank says is 61 per cent of its target for 2008. Costs rose 45 per cent to AED931m, driven by investment in infrastructure and staff, but the cost income ratio fell to 37.4 per cent.

Chief executive officer Rick Pudner says that net interest margins at the bank were now 1.95 per cent, after spiking at over 2 per cent earlier in the year, as a result of the sharp fall in interest rates in the UAE.

He adds that the bank was still looking at opportunities in Saudi Arabia, in particular the possibility of buying a stake in Saudi Hollandi which is for sale (MEED 23:5:07).

Customer deposits at Emirates NBD grew by 13.3 per cent to AED187bn and loans grew by 12.6 per cent to AED187bn.