Tunisian banks post poor 2002 profits

31 January 2003
Two of Tunisia's banks have reported disappointing results for 2002, reflecting economic slowdown and low interest rates. On 30 January, privately-owned Banque de Tunisie (BT)announced a four per cent rise in profits to TD 30 million ($23.3 million) for 2002, compared with a 20 per cent rise in 2001. Gross income increased to TD 122.2 million ($92.6 million) from TD 112.0 million ($84.8 million) the previous year, while assets climbed to TD 1,540 million ($1,167 million) from TD 1,390 million ($1,053 million). Among the bank's shareholders are France's Banque CICand local insurer Astree.

On 31 January, another private bank, Tunisian-French Union Bancaire pour le Commerce et l'Industrie (UBCI), announced a 59 per cent fall in profits to TD 7.5 million ($5.8 million) for 2002. Gross income also fell, to TD 92.1 million ($69.8 million) from TD 97.3 million ($73.7 million) in 2001, and total assets shrank to TD 999 million ($757 million) from TD 1,091 million ($827 million). The poor performance was blamed on a fall in loan demand due to the economic conditions, and an increase in provisioning. UBCI is half owned by France's BNP Paribasand half by Tunisian investors.

Average profits for Tunisia's ten biggest banks fell 8.3 per cent in the first half of 2002, and the decline is expected to have worsened for the full year.

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