Manama-based investment bank United Gulf Bank (UGB) saw its net income rise 44.4 per cent in 1995, after profits took a hammering in 1994 from weak world bond and equity markets.

A UGB statement said the bank’s net income rose to $15.6 million last year from $10.8 million in 1994 – compared to $19.4 million in 1993. Its total assets fell by just under 3 per cent in 1995 to $373.4 million.

Shareholders will receive a 6 per cent dividend, compared with 1994’s 5 per cent.

Customer deposits fell to $136.7 million from $144.5 million. Shareholders’ equity was little changed at $221.5 million compared with $221.2 million.

UGB substantially reduced its investments in managed portfolios and securities during 1995 and put the money into bank deposits, according to the balance sheet figures. ‘Most of the liquidations came towards the yearend,’ a bank source said. He said UGB was still assessing its investment strategy for 1996.

‘In 1994 we were exposed to the bond market and lost out,’ the source said, adding that the bank had moved out of some of the real estate investments that provided one of the highs of the 1994 results. ‘We saw some opportunities to capitalise on our investment properties. Some of our US properties had reached near the maturity level, so we cut out.’ The statement said liquid assets formed 85 per cent of total assets in 1995 compared to 81 per cent in 1994. ‘Financial leverage has remained conservative at 1.7:1,’ it said.