Net profits fell by 76 per cent to $4 million, reflecting a rise in operating expenses after UGB acquired a 96 per cent stake in Kipco Asset Management Company (Kamco), a fellow subsidiary of Kuwait Projects Investment Company (Kipco). Earnings were also affected by drops in net interest income and investment income, the bank said in a statement on 26 March. The takeover of Kamco establishes UGB as the investment banking arm of Kipco, the bank said. Total assets rose by 31 per cent to reach $931 million at the end of 2001.

UGB has pursued securities brokerage through Kamco in the past. As part of its programme of converting itself into a holding company, Kipco made an attempt in 1999 to merge UGB with another of its banking assets, Kuwait-based Burgan Bank, in which UGB already had a significant holding. However, plans for the merger were eventually shelved. Besides Kamco, the chief subsidiaries of UGB are Tunis International Bankand Amman-based Jordan Kuwait Bank(MEED 6:4:01).