Gulf Finance House yesterday said it earned a profit of $116 million (Dh425m) in the first quarter of this year, an increase of 61 per cent over the same period last year. Assets increased 14.8 per cent to $2,577m while shareholders' equity reached $790m.
Earnings per share for the first quarter were 14.68 cents compared to 9.08 cents for the same period of 2007. The main driver for this quarter's result is the Tunis Financial Harbour (TFH) project, the company said in a statement.
TFH will become the first offshore banking and financial centre in North Africa and will incorporate world class banking legislation to attract global financial institutes to Tunisia. TFH, spread over four square kilometres, is the latest financial district to be created by GFH in its programme of economic infrastructure projects.
TFH is a master planned business and social community that will include themed residential areas, modern retail and new leisure concepts. The project has been underwritten by a group of banks that include Masraf Al Rayan, Qatar National Bank and Emirates Islamic.
Chairman Esam Janahi said: "The year 2007 underlined the strength of our business model, delivering high-value economic infrastructure projects that offer unparalleled investment opportunities to our clients. In the first quarter of 2008 we've built on these strong foundations, and both clients and financial institutions continue to demonstrate strong confidence in GFH's projects.
"The bank's deal pipeline is particularly strong this year, and based on the first quarter results, we expect to beat our targets once again."
Acting Chief Executive Peter Panayiotou said: "It has been a very good start to the year."