Gulf Investment Corporation (GIC), the regional investment bank owned by the Gulf Arab states, boosted profits by 6 per cent in 1996 to $122.9 million. Total assets were little changed on the year, rising by $300 million to $10,500 million.

The consolidated profits represent a return of 16.4 per cent on the paid- up capital. GIC, which is based in Kuwait, said in a statement that its commercial banking activities continued to make a significant contribution to its bottom line in 1996 – a reference to wholly-owned subsidiary Gulf International Bank, which reported a 5 per cent increase in net profits to $94.5 million for last year.

‘Taking advantage of a favourable business environment in international financial markets, the group’s global markets activities also made an important contribution to its profits. Investment banking activities benefited from the growth of economic activity in the Gulf,’ GIC said. The bank has been rated recently at investment grade by Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s, the two leading US ratings agencies (MEED 28:2:97).