Despite the cancellation of some deals lately, First Bahrain expects to remain profitable in 2009.
The company has been consistently recording profits in the past years and hopes to maintain it in 2009 as well despite the ongoing problems in the sector, Amin AlArrayed, General Manager of First Bahrain told Emirates Business.
"Our 2007 financial figures released on behalf of the Board of Directors recorded a net profit of $17.7 million (Dh64.9m), a 29 per cent improvement on the company's performance in 2006.
"Following this success, we expect our financial figures for 2008 to be profitable but may present a slightly lower figure due to prudent provisioning in light of the economic slowdown. This does not concern us too much as we do expect 2009 to be a profitable year for First Bahrain," he revealed.
Recently, the company cancelled its mixed-use project in Bahrain's Seef area.
"The Board of Directors took the considered decision at the end of 2008 not to move ahead with the company's planned mixed-use project in Bahrain's Seef area, in order to maintain our sound financial position," said AlArrayed.
As far as the cancelled deals are concerned, the company has taken steps to ensure that all third parties with planned involvement in the project are not adversely affected by the decision, and because of the early stages of the project, this has been a smooth process, he said.
"This decision [cancellation of the project] reflects First Bahrain's consistently prudent approach to business. It is a realistic decision in the current market, and means the corporate balance sheet remains in a very healthy position. First Bahrain's operations and projects remain sustainable because we have ensured a significant built-in financial buffer. We have retained the land, and are actively considering other market opportunities, as well as expanding our Bahrain Investment Wharf project to serve market demand."
Moreover, the company has enough liquidity to feed its debt. "First Bahrain is in a strong liquidity position with no significant debt or leverage on our balance sheet. Therefore, we have no need to restructure debt or liquidate our assets. We believe in a demand driven investment approach, which places us in a unique position in that our investments are marketable. In addition we do not over-leverage," mentioned the GM of the company.
"This can be demonstrated by First Bahrain's project at Bahrain Investment Wharf, which is aimed at raising the bar for warehousing development in the Kingdom of Bahrain by developing solutions to cater to the needs of small to medium enterprises (SMEs). This approach, coupled with our strong shareholder base, places us in a good position today," he said.