The total assets were up five per cent, financing and investments by seven per cent, deposits by four per cent and total shareholders’ equity by 23 per cent at the end of June 2017 compared to end of December 2016. As for the results of the first half of 2017 as a whole, it was affected by the results of the first quarter of this year. Net operating income decreased by seven per cent to $219 million and net income attributable to shareholders of the parent decreased by 14 per cent to $70 million in the first half of 2017 compared to the first half of 2016 of $81 million, while total net income was $113 million during the first half of 2017 showing a decline by 21 per cent comparing to the same period last year of $143 million.
"The Group and its banking units continue to devote a sustainable growth approach based on firm moral and economic pillars linked to the real economy of the communities in which they operate, which provides the stability and growth factors for the operational and profitability results of the Group,” Abdulla Ammar Al Saudi, Vice Chairman of ABG, said.
The results of the second quarter of 2017 showed a significant improvement in profitability compared to the results of the first quarter of 2017, where net operating income increased by 17 per cent and net income by 19 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2017.
The results of the second quarter of 2017, however, showed an increase in total operating income by three per cent to reach $256 million compared to the first quarter of the same year. After deducting all operating expenses, the net operating income reached $118 million during the second quarter of 2017 compared to $101 million during the first quarter of 2017, recording a large increase of 17 per cent. After deducting taxes and provisions, the net income attributable to equity holders of the parent reached $36 million during the second quarter of 2017 compared to $34 million during the first quarter of 2017, an increase of five per cent; total net income of the Group went up significantly by 19 per cent to reach $61 million during the second quarter of 2017 compared to $52 million in the first quarter of 2017.
In comparing the results of the second quarter of 2017 with the same period last year, it showed a decline in the net income attributable to the parent by 18 per cent to reach $36 million compared to $44 million and total net income showed a decline of 17 per cent to reach $61 million comparing to $74 million. During the first half of 2017, Al Baraka Banking Group continued the implementation of the business and markets expansion initiatives and diversification of income sources through its banking units located in 15 countries.
The operations and activities of the Group achieved a noticeable growth across the board in financial and investment activities. The Group had reported earlier, that the second half of 2016 saw a general decline in currencies value in some countries where its units operate, against the US dollar, which had affected the results of the first quarter of 2017. However, the Group expects that the results of the remaining part of the year will witness an improvement in revenues and income, God willing. The results were affected also by the financial and economic instability in some countries where the Group operates, forcing it to strengthen prudential provisions as part of the conservative policy pursued by the Group.
The consolidated balance sheet recorded a healthy increase at the end of June 2017 compared to end of December 2016 and the total assets of the Group grew by 5 per cent reaching $ 24.7 billion. The Group had maintained a large portion of its assets in the form of liquid assets in order to tap the financing opportunities and to face the fluctuations in the markets. Operating assets (financing and investments) amounted to $ 18.7 billion as at the end of June 2017 compared to $ 17.5 billion at the end of December 2016, a good increase of seven per cent.
Customer accounts as at the end of June 2017 were up four per cent reaching $20 billion compared to the end of December 2016's level which represents 81 per cent of total assets, thanks to the continued customer confidence and loyalty in the Group and growing customer base and expansion in the branch network.
The total equity was up 23 per cent to $2.5 billion at the end of June 2017, compared to the end of December 2016. This also includes the issuance of $400 million Additional Tier 1 Perpetual Sukuk by ABG during May 2017. The total equity to total assets ratio reached 10 per cent at the end of June 2017, an indication of the overall capital base strength of the Group.
"The international and regional developments and conditions continued in the first half of 2017, which formed serious challenges for us, including the economic and financial instability in some main countries were we operate, in addition to the decline in oil prices and the decline of currencies value of some of our units' countries against the US dollar, the currency of the Group's consolidated reports,” said Adnan Ahmed Yousif, Member of the Board of Directors and President and Chief Executive of Al Baraka Banking Group, said, while commenting on the regional and international developments. But despite all these developments, we were able not only to maintain our good profits and operational positions, but also to enhance our precautionary measures in the context of sound policies and strategies developed by the Group and are implemented by all units. The great success of the first Sukuk issuance was a global endorsement of the Group's prestigious position."
HE Sheikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel, Chairman of Al Baraka Banking Group, said that the financial and economic challenges continued regionally and internationally during the first six months of 2017, which created challenging environment for ABG and its banking units, but despite this, thanks to God, the Group achieved good profitability growth rates and at the same time maintained its high quality of assets and strength of liquid assets, in addition to improve financial returns from all core businesses and all this within its socially responsible Islamic banking model.
span style="font-size: small;"> “We are very pleased to see the contribution of all our banking units in the positive results of the Group as evidenced by the excellent results recorded and the cash dividends distributed to its shareholders. As we expected at the beginning of the year, the results of the first quarter of this year were affected by the downward trend in the currencies of some of the countries in which the Group's units operate against the US dollar during the second half of last year 2016, but we expect the Group's results to improve during the rest of the year," Adnan, added. “The total number of branches of our units reached 667 branches at the end of June 2017 compared to 697 branches earlier this year, following the merger of some branches in Pakistan due to the merger of Al Baraka Bank Pakistan. The total staff of the Group’s branches reached 12,623 at the end of June 2017, which reflects the clear role of our units in creating rewarding jobs to citizens in their communities. In addition, this policy is one of main pillars of growth in businesses and profits in the Group.”
“In terms of geographical expansion across the Arab region and at international level, we completed all necessary procedures to launch our banking unit in Morocco, and we plan to start its activities in September 2017 with our partners in the new bank the Moroccan Bank for Foreign Commerce (BMCE Bank), under the name BTI Bank. The new bank will be under the management of Al Baraka Banking Group and will operate within its network of subsidiary banking units, which are currently located in 15 countries. The entrance into the Moroccan market is a very important achievement, which is considered one of the major markets in the Maghreb and Africa, and will achieve greater diversity in building assets portfolios and revenue sources for the Group.”
“As we mentioned earlier, completed with great success the issuance of its first Islamic Sukuk in the amount of $ 400 million. The issue was well received in the GCC, Asian and European markets, and was five times oversubscribed, receiving subscriptions of $ 1.6 billion against the initial requirement of $ 300 million. As a result of the high subscription, it was decided to raise the issue size from $ 300 million to $ 400 million. The Sukuk issue is an Additional Tier 1 Perpetual Sukuk that is compliant with the Central Bank of Bahrain rules and regulations. Ninety-four banks participated in the subscription, where 70 per cent of subscription coverage came from Arab markets, 15 per cent from Asian markets and 15 per cent from European markets. This issuance came as part of our strategy to expand our capital base, to grow in our existing and new markets and to strengthen the business of our banking units, and this is the first of its kind in terms of size to be issued by a private sector institution from the Kingdom of Bahrain.
This confirms the strong banking and finance reputation and the prestigious position of the Bahrain Financial centre as well as the confidence international markets have in it. Moreover, all indicators confirm once again the prestigious position and outstanding reputation of Al Baraka Banking Group in regional and global financial markets as a result of its strong track record, its strong financial, technical and human resources, and its broad geographic network.”
“The social responsibility represents a core pillar in the business model of the Group. During the first half of 2017, the Group continued to implement its social responsibility programme based on linking the social responsibility programmes and activities of the units and the Group with the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.
“The focus on training through Al Baraka Academy continued in first half of 2017 by providing training courses to the staff and we have plans to organise many training workshops specialised in different fields of Islamic banking for staff during 2017 and beyond. We also continued providing modern online training programmes for the employees of the Group and its units that are related to compliance, sanctions and KYC regulations and others. Besides we continued our efforts to embody the values and principles of our unified brand, which is based on the concept of partnership with customers, in all the products and services we offer.
“We expect the fluctuations in regional and international markets will continue, which creates difficult business environment for international banks, but we will continue our precious policy and investment of our large financial and technical resources in addition to wide geographical network of the units of the Group towards maximising the returns for our shareholders and the investors in the Group,” said Adnan, while talking about the economic climate during the remaining part of 2017.
The President & Chief Executive of ABG concluded his statement by praising the tireless efforts of the executive management at Group Head Office, the executive management teams of the banking units of Al Baraka Banking Group and related parties that played an instrumental role in achieving these planned results for the Group.
Al Baraka Banking Group (B.S.C) is licenced as an Islamic wholesale bank by the Central Bank of Bahrain, listed on Bahrain Bourse and Nasdaq Dubai stock exchanges. It is a leading international Islamic banking group providing its unique services in countries with a population totalling around one billion. It is jointly rated BBB+ (long term) / A3 (short term) on the international scale and A+ (bh) (long term) / A2 (bh) (short term) on the national by Islamic International Rating Agency & Dagong Global Credit Rating Company Limited, and by Standard & Poor's at BB+ (long term) / B (short term).
Al Baraka offers retail, corporate, treasury and investment banking services, strictly in accordance with the principles of the Islamic Shari'ah. The authorised capital of Al Baraka is $ 1.5 billion, while total equity is at about $ 2.5 billion. The Group has a wide geographical presence in the form of subsidiary banking units and representative offices in fifteen countries, which in turn provide their services through over 667 branches. Al Baraka currently has a strong presence in Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Algeria,Tunisia, Sudan, Bahrain, Pakistan, South Africa, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, including two representative offices in Indonesia and Libya.