More change at the top of NBO

23 July 2004
Bellikoth Vasanthan has replaced John Finigan as chief executive (CEO) of National Bank of Oman (NBO), coinciding with the announcement of first-half profits of RO 3 million ($7.7 million) at the bank. NBO said that Finigan had been keen to leave for several months but wanted first to oversee the turnaround in the troubled bank's fortunes.

The CEO's departure follows the resignation in May of NBO's chairman, Khalfan bin Nasser al-Wohaibi, and his replacement by Sheikh Suhail Bahwan (MEED 28:5:04). Suhail Bahwan Groupacquired a 36 per cent stake in the bank through a capital increase in October 2003. Vasanthan's appointment is his first in the GCC. His most recent role was as chairman and managing director of India's state-owned Andhra Bank.

The profits for the first six months of 2004 compare favourably with the RO 0.4 million ($1 million) net income reported in the first half of 2003 and to the loss of RO 51.8 million ($132.8 million) loss posted at the end of the year, caused by heavy provisioning. NBO said that the increased profits reflected improved performance in both its corporate and consumer businesses and a contribution from fledgling project finance operations. However, the bank also said that full-year results were likely to be weaker than expected, as provisioning levels for the first half - of RO 7 million ($17.9 million) - were higher than anticipated.

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