The bottom line was boosted by a substantial decline in interest expense which fell to QR 623.3 million ($171.2 million) in 2002 from QR 1,080.8 million ($296.9 million) in 2001, leading in turn to a 22 per cent growth in net interest income in 2002.

There was also a significant expansion of the balance sheet, with total assets increasing by QR 2,665.2 million ($732.2 million) over the course of 2002 to end the year at QR 31,055 million ($8,531.6 million). Loans and deposits grew 5 per cent over the same period to QR 19,953.1 million ($5,481.1 million), while customer deposits were QR 23,600.2 million ($6,483.6 million), 10 per cent higher than a year earlier.

At the annual general meeting held in Doha on 26 February, shareholders approved a dividend of QR 4.50 ($1.24) for 2002. The dividend for the previous year was QR 4.00 ($1.10).