The Arab Investment Company (TAIC) says it more than doubled its net profits last year to $9.7 million, compared to $4.3 million in 1995. The company’s shareholders, who include 15 Arab states, have agreed to let Algeria and Lebanon join.

The Riyadh-based company finances Arab industrial projects and arranges syndicated loans. It had total assets of $1,218 million at the end of 1996 – an increase of 8.5 per cent on the previous year. Its balance sheet is highly liquid, with more than half of its assets held in the form of cash, interbank placements or marketable securities. About 40 per cent of its assets are in the form of loans. TAIC’s return on assets of 0.80 per cent is quite low compared to most lenders in the Gulf Arab states.

TAIC’s annual general meeting on 8 June also agreed to an increase of the company’s authorised capital to $400 million from $300 million, and of paid-up capital to $360 million from $300 million, to accommodate the two new members. The company also says it has just arranged a $45 million, five-year loan for the state-owned Oman Development Bank, priced at 45 basis points over the London interbank offered rate and underwritten by three Gulf banks and one Japanese one (MEED 30:5:97).