Kuwait Finance House (KFH), the second largest Islamic financial institution in the Middle East, has reported net profits of about KD 53 million ($172.5 million) for 2001, a 10 per cent increase on the previous year. Gross earnings stood at KD 112 million ($364.6 million), of which KD 58.5 million ($190.4 million) was returned to investment depositors, headline figures show.
The board has recommended that a 45 per cent cash dividend and a 5 per cent bonus issue should be paid to shareholders.
KFH's total assets increased by 17 per cent to stand at KD 2,400 million ($7,813 million) at the end of 2001, and the Islamic bank's shareholders' equity expanded by 10 per cent to KD 211 million ($686.8 million).
Last year saw a significant shift in strategy by KFH, with moves made to establish a presence in other GCC countries. It received a full Islamic commercial banking licence from the Bahrain Monetary Agency (central bank) in December (MEED 28:12:01). KFH also bought a minority position in National Bank of Sharjah, which has launched a programme to convert itself into an Islamic financial institution (MEED 30:3:01).
'With the liberalisation of banking services.the bank's strategy would stretch further into new markets such as the USA, Europe and South Asia,' says KFH in a statement.
KFH's strong reputation as a provider of Islamically structured project finance was boosted by its involvement in a $250 million tranche in the financing package for Abu Dhabi's Shuweihat power and water project, and for its lead arranging role on a $200 million Islamic tranche in the refinancing deal for Equate Petrochemical Company (MEED 14:12:01; 7:12:01).
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