45% cash dividends
[Dubai, United Arab Emirates, February 02, 2019] Arab Bank Group closed 2018 with solid results reporting net income after tax of $820.5 million as compared to $533 million in 2017 with net income before tax reaching $ 1.1 billion. The Group's equity grew to reach $8.7 billion while the return on equity increased to reach 9.5%. In view of the solid results, the Board of Directors has recommended to the shareholders the distribution of 45% cash dividends for the financial year 2018.
The Group's net operating income grew by 8% driven by growth in net interest and commission income. Credit facilities increased by 3% to reach 25.8 billon while customer deposits increased to reach $34.3 billion.
Mr. Sabih Masri, Chairman of the Board of Directors stated that the strong performance of Arab Bank Group confirms the success of the Group in dealing with the challenging and changing operating environment and reflects the Group's prudent operating policies.
Mr. Nemeh Sabbagh, Chief Executive Officer, stated that the solid results of Arab Bank Group for 2018 were driven by sustainable growth in the underlying business, spread improvements and well controlled expenses. Mr. Sabbagh remarked that Arab Bank Group enjoys strong liquidity and robust capitalization. The Group's loan-to-deposit ratio stood at 75% while capital adequacy ratio calculated in accordance with Basel III regulations improved to reach 15.6%. He added that the asset quality of the Group remains high, with credit provisions held against non-performing loans standing above 100%, excluding the value of collaterals.
As the legal cases filed in the US in 2004 have been put into finality, the Bank reversed $325 million of excess legal provisions into income. Also, and in line with the Bank's conservative policies, the Bank booked $225 million impairment against the value of its investment in Turkey, the amount of which is mainly the result of currency depreciation.
Mr. Masri concluded by remarking that the encouraging results will continue to support the strong financial performance of the Group and its position in its markets.
Arab Bank was named “Bank of the Year in the Middle East for 2017” by The Banker – Financial Times, London and “Best Bank in the Middle East for 2018” by Global Finance, New York for the third year consecutively. The Bank also received 14 international awards from Global Finance for its corporate digital banking services in the region.
The 2018 financial statements are subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Jordan.