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NBAD posts second-largest profit

By Agencies


National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) posted its second-biggest profit ever in the fourth quarter, beating analysts' forecasts, as interest and brokerage income grew.


Earnings surged 59 per cent to Dh744 million, the lender said in a statement.


"Our fourth quarter income went up due to an improvement in the market, which increased interest income and brokerage income," NBAD's Chief Financial Officer Jamil Halabi told Reuters.


Net interest income in the fourth quarter was Dh687m and operating income was Dh424m, Halabi said.


Full-year profit at the second-largest lender in the United Arab Emirates rose 19 per cent to Dh2.5 billion, the bank said in the statement.


"Recovering local equity markets helped our results this year, and our brokerage and asset management businesses remain well positioned to take advantage of the improving regional equity market," Chief Executive Officer Michael Tomalin said in the statement.


The Abu Dhabi index has risen 28.2 per cent since October 1.


Annual operating income in 2007 rose 24 per cent to Dh3.7bn with net interest income rising 19 per cent and fees and commissions increasing 35 per cent, the bank said.


Profit from international operations was Dh354m, up 7 per cent on 2006 and contributing 14 per cent of the lender's overall profit.


"During 2007, we opened seven new branches in Egypt and Oman to be followed by a branch in Bahrain in the first quarter of 2008," the lender said.


NBAD plans to open in Libya, Jordan and Hong Kong and has applied for a licence to open in Qatar, it said without giving a timeframe for its expansion.


Analysts' forecasts for NBAD's fourth-quarter profit ranged from Dh522m to Dh701m, in a Reuters survey last month, with the average of seven forecasts at Dh600m.


NBAD said it would recommend a 2007 cash dividend of 40 per cent, and 20 per cent in bonus shares. (Reuters)