FGB hikes dividend after record results

First Gulf Bank increased its 2013 dividend payout by 20 per cent after posting record quarterly earnings, as the UAE’s second largest lender by value profits from an economic recovery in the region.

The Abu Dhabi lender proposed a total dividend payout of Dh3 billion for 2013, up from Dh2.5 billion in 2012, it said in a statement on Wednesday. Cash dividends for the year has been raised to Dh1 per share from Dh0.83 per share, FGB said. It also plans a 30 per cent 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 made a net profit of Dh1.37 billion ($373.2 million) for the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with Dh1.15 billion a year earlier.

Six analysts polled by Reuters had estimated an average profit of Dh1.17 billion. The quarterly net profit was its highest, FGB said, driven by gains on its property portfolio and increased returns on its investments.

Fourth-quarter provisions were higher at Dh545.7 million compared with Dh428 million a year ago, taking full year provisions to Dh1.82 billion, up from Dh1.65 billion in 2012.

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