2 Min Read
(Adds dividend details, wider banking sector)
* Abu Dhabi lender boosts total 2013 div payout by 20 pct
* Q4 net profit at record high of 1.37 bln dirhams
* Results beat analysts' forecasts
ABU DHABI, Jan 29 (Reuters) - First Gulf Bank increased its 2013 dividend payout by 20 percent after posting record quarterly earnings, as the United Arab Emirates' second largest lender by value profits from an economic recovery in the region.
The Abu Dhabi lender proposed a total dividend payout of 3 billion dirhams for 2013, up from 2.5 billion dirhams in 2012, it said in a statement on Wednesday. Cash dividends for the year has been raised to one dirham per share from 0.83 dirham per share, FGB said. It also plans a 30 percent bonus share payout for 2013.
Banks in the United Arab Emirates are reaping the benefits of a recovering economy, helped mainly by an upturn in the real estate sector together with reduced debt worries at some state-linked entities.
FGB, majority-owned by Abu Dhabi's ruling family, made a net profit of 1.37 billion dirhams ($373.2 million) for the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with 1.15 billion dirhams a year earlier.
Six analysts polled by Reuters had estimated an average profit of 1.17 billion dirhams. The quarterly net profit was its highest ever, FGB said, driven by gains on its property portfolio and increased returns on its investments.
Fourth-quarter provisions were higher at 545.7 million dirhams compared with 428 million dirhams a year ago, taking full year provisions to 1.82 billion dirhams, up from 1.65 billion dirhams in 2012.
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank posted a 40 percent jump in its quarterly net profit earlier in the week, beating analysts' forecasts.
$1= 3.6730 UAE dirhams Reporting by Stanley Carvalho, editing by Dinesh Nair and Louise Heavens