By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 20 February 2014:
The largely Libyan-owned Arab Banking Corporation . . .[restrict](ABC), based in Bahrain, has appointed two new vice presidents as part of its transformation plans aimed at making it the largest bank in the Middle East and North Africa. It is already the largest bank in Bahrain, the financial hub of the Gulf region.
The new directors are Ray Ferguson and Sael Al-Waary.
Ferguson, who joins the ABC Group from Standard Chartered Bank, is to be the new Executive Vice President and Group Chief Banking Officer. He will oversee ABC’s global banking business including expansion plans in the Middle East and North Africa as well as in North and South America, Europe and Asia.
Al-Waary, currently ABC’s Senior Vice President and Group Chief Operating Officer, becomes Executive Vice President with an expanded role as Group Chief Operating Officer.
The appointments follow that last October of Libyan Khaled Kawan as Group Chief Executive Officer and President.
“ABC has a clear and focused strategy in place. These changes to our organisational structure . . . will add momentum to our transformation journey and help us to improve performance and provide a superior client experience across our network,” commented Kawan on the appointments.
Earlier this week, the bank announced a 2013 profit of $239 million, up 17 percent on the $205 million for 2012. It noticeably showed a rise towards the end of the year. Net profit for the fourth quarter of 2013 was $61 million, compared to $47 million for the same period in 2012.
Total operating income for the year rose to $857 million from $816 million despite, the bank said, the impact of the stronger dollar on consolidation of revenues from subsidiaries. Year-on-year revenue growth was recorded in all areas.
The bank reported that operating expenses also increased by $37 million to $440 million, mainly due to one-off restructuring costs in the first half of 2013. This resulted in a small, temporary increase in the cost to income ratio of 51.3% compared to 49.4% in 2012.
Total assets grew by $2 billion to reach $26.5 billion. The increase, said the bank, was largely in marketable securities and other short term assets. Loans and advances also rose by $0.8 billion to $13.7 billion. The ratio of NPLs (non-performing loans) to gross loans declined to 3.0 percent from 3.2 percent in 2012.
Deposits continued to grow during the year, from $17.2 billion at year end, 2012, to $18.3 billion at the end of 2013.
“The results which show a very healthy increase in profits for the fifth consecutive year demonstrate the strength of ABC Group and its ability to overcome the impact of turbulent events in the core markets it serves,” said ABC’s Chairman, Saddek Elkaber, better known as the governor of the Central Bank of Libya (CBL). ”I have every confidence that, with the continued support of shareholders and clients, ABC will grow and transform itself into a leading universal bank in MENA.”
It also provides retail banking services through its network of retail banks in Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria.
ABC was set up in 1981 as an Abu Dhabi, Kuwaiti and Libyan joint venture and its first CEO was Libya’s Abdulla Saudi. Abu Dhabi sold its shares to Libya in 2010, as a result of which Libya now has a 59.37 percent. Quoted on the Bahrain stock exchange, the bank now has 1,300 institutional and individual shareholders.
A year ago the CBL planning denied rumours that it was planning to sell Libya’s National Commercial Bank to ABC.