Saudi International Bank (SIB), the London-based consortium bank controlled by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA – central bank), recorded a 10 per cent rise in net profit to £24.3 million ($39 million) in 1996 from £22.2 million ($36 million) in 1995. The bank has increased its dividend to 6.3 per cent of paid-in capital.

Features of the year included a 19 per cent rise in profit before tax and non-recurring items. The bank says this reflected further strengthening in trading and investment activities. Total capital resources, comprising shareholders’ funds and a perpetual loan from shareholders, rose by 5 per cent to £251 million ($402 million), lifting the risk asset ratio to 15 per cent.

SIB’s balance sheet contracted by about 5 per cent during 1996 as deposits fell from both customers and banks. The bank cut its lending by about 20 per cent, but its securities portfolio grew slightly. Performance indicators improved during the year, with return on end-year assets rising slightly to 0.78 per cent and return on equity rising to 9.67 per cent. Former Saudi Arabian finance and national economy minister Mohammad Abalkhail was appointed chairman in September 1996, succeeding Abdul-Aziz al-Quraishi who has resigned as a director.