Bahrain-based Gulf International Bank (GIB)has posted net profits of $70.5 million for the first half of the year, a 3.6 per cent decline on the corresponding period last year. In the context of volatile and depressed global financial markets, GIB's performance is impressive. Net interest income is up 6 per cent year-on-year and other income has grown 36 per cent.
'We have benefited from having limited exposure to interest rate risk,' says a GIB official. 'Other income has increased due to good profits on the sale of securities and a good period of foreign exchange trading, and advisory fees have been good.'
The slight dip in interim profits is mainly the result of raised levels in provisioning, which more than quadrupled to a total of $39.8 million.
'Default rates around the world are at very high levels, but there is nothing specifically wrong with our portfolio,' says the executive.
There has been a slight but significant restructuring of GIB's balance sheet in the first half. The successful launch of a $325 million, five-year floating rate note in June has marginally lengthened the bank's liabilities profile, easing the problems of tenor mismatches, and also led to a more aggressive loans-deposits ratio (MEED 14:6:02). This increased to 74.6 per cent at the end of June from 69.5 per cent at the end of last year.
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