(Adds details, background)
DUBAI Jan 29 Dubai Islamic Bank
(DIB), the largest sharia-compliant lender in the emirate,
posted a 66.2 percent jump in fourth-quarter net profit,
according to Reuters calculations, on the back of lower
financing costs and impairment charges.
Beating analysts' forecasts, the bank made 518 million
dirhams ($141 million) in the three months to Dec. 31, up from
311.7 million dirhams in the same period the year before.
The average forecast of three analysts polled by Reuters was
for a net profit of 412.3 million dirhams.
The calculation was based on previous financial statements.
DIB said on Wednesday its net profit for the full year increased
42 percent, hitting 1.72 billion dirhams.
DIB also said in the bourse filing that it was proposing a
cash dividend of 0.25 dirhams per share for 2013. This is higher
than the 0.15 dirhams per share paid for 2012.
In a rare interview, officials at the bank said last May
they expected high-double digit percentage growth in net profit
in 2013 after dealing with most of the bad loans which soared
after the collapse of the local real estate market at the end of
the last decade.
Impairment charges fell to 820 million dirhams during 2013
from 1.09 billion dirhams in 2012.
The bank reported big jumps in total assets and deposits in
its first-quarter numbers - to 120.6 billion dirhams and 88.26
billion dirhams, respectively - without elaborating on why.
However, both deposits and assets declined later in the
year. Customer deposits stood at 79.1 billion dirhams at the end
of December, up 19 percent from the end of 2012, while total
assets were 15 percent up year-on-year over the same timeframe
at 113.2 billion dirhams.
The bank said it had written down some loans to the
commercial real estate sector. As a result, total loans and
advances grew just 3 percent last year to 56.1 billion dirhams.
This contrasts with the UAE banking system as a whole, and
in particular Dubai, which has enjoyed strong loan growth in
2013 as economic conditions following the real estate crisis.
Loan growth across UAE banks was 7.2 percent in the first
nine months of 2013, according to the latest central bank data.
DIB said on Dec. 25 its board of directors had approved
plans to increase the cap on foreign ownership of its shares to
25 percent from 15 percent. The move was part of a wider trend
of UAE and Qatari firms doing so ahead of their respective
bourses' reclassification by index provider MSCI to emerging
market status in May 2014.
($1 = 3.6730 UAE dirhams)
(Reporting by David French; Editing by Mark Potter)