Qatar First Bank reports continued growth in 2013, as net income rises by 24% per cent

QFB reported strong financial results and continued growth in 2013, as net income rose by 24 per cent

Qatar First Bank (QFB), Qatar’s first independent Shari’ah compliant bank regulated by the QFC Regulatory Authority, reported strong financial results and continued growth in 2013, as net income rose by 24 per cent from QAR 113.2 million (US$ 31.1 million) in 2012 to QAR 140.5 million (US$ 38.6 million) in 2013.  For the fourth consecutive year, the Annual General Meeting (AGM) ratified the distribution of a cash dividend. This year the AGM approved the distribution of 8% of paid up share capital to QFB shareholders.

QFB, in its fifth full year of operation, invested a total of QAR 244 million (US$ 6 7 million) in 2013.

The Bank’s audited financial results for 2013 were approved at its AGM held on the 24th  of March 2014 at the la Cigal Hotel. Presenting an overview of QFB’s activities and financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2013, Abdulla Bin Fahad Bin Ghorab Al Marri, QFB’s Chairman, commented: “The economic backdrop in 2013 continued to be challenging, as developed economies struggled to solve their economic constraints and emerging markets experienced its own set of challenges.  In the MENA region political instability continued to hamper growth and weaken confidence.  On the other hand the GCC continued to experience strong growth on the back of increasing oil prices and large infrastructure spending, Qatar in particular has witnessed great economic ascendency, boosted by well-planned diversification of economic resources, development of diverse energy portfolio and support of the financial sector.  During the year, QFB continued to surge ahead with key developments across all business lines. QFB’s year-on-year growth over the past five years is a clear testament to our prudent strategy that has propelled the Bank towards becoming a regional Shari’ah compliant financial institution. Our long term prospects remain solid, driven by strong fundamentals, and we are committed to continuing to provide our investors and clients with well-structured products and a world class service from an independent, experienced Islamic bank.”

Ahmad Meshari, QFB Acting Chief Executive Officer, commented: “Despite the challenging global economic backdrop, we are pleased to end our fifth year of operation on a high note.  During 2013, we focused our efforts on developing our commercial banking activities building on our successful model in investment banking.  Our investment line of business continued to perform well in line with our expectations as our portfolio companies posted positive results. Although the global economic outlook remains challenging for 2014, we will continue to build on our solid track record, capturing market growth, introducing innovative products, delivering sound returns to our shareholders and further position the Bank as a market-leading and results-driven financial institution.”

The Shari’ah Supervisory Board Report and the Auditor’s Report for the year ended 31st December 2013 were also presented to the AGM.  The meeting also re-elected the Bank’s auditors for another period of twelve months.

The AGM was followed by an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) which addressed certain amendments to the Articles of Association.  In particular, the Bank took steps to enhance its liquidity position and shareholder base by increasing its authorised capital by 25% to QAR2.5 billion. The funds are aimed at facilitating further growth in the Bank’s asset base and as well as positioning the Bank for the full operations of its commercial banking business. The Bank also announced that its capital of QAR2 billion was fully subscribed in the financial year 2013.

In line with the capital increase the Bank made clarifications to its local and foreign ownership limits in its Articles which would benefit any future placements of new shares. These steps further strengthen the Bank’s commitment and preparedness for its participation in the Qatar Exchange by attracting a wider spectrum of local and foreign shareholders in line with the upgrade of the Qatar Exchange to ‘emerging market’ status.

Since its inception in March 2009, QFB has invested QAR 2.1 billion (US$ 579 million) in 18 transactions across various sectors including energy, financial services, industrials, real estate and healthcare across the GCC, MENA, Turkey and in the United Kingdom.

World Finance recognizes QFB’s ACEO as the “Islamic Banker of the Year for 2014”

Qatar First Bank’s newly appointed Acting CEO Ahmad Meshari has been named the “Islamic Banker of the Year for 2014” by World Finance

Qatar First Bank’s newly appointed Acting CEO Ahmad Meshari has been named the “Islamic Banker of the Year for 2014”  by World Finance,  the UK leading financial magazine issued  by World News Media in London.

The World Finance Banking Awards are held on an annual basis to honour the achievements of top bankers, financiers as well as financial institutions that made major contributions towards the advancement of the financial services industry over the years.    The awards are known throughout the financial media as the top recognition for players in the financial industry.  The World Finance Award Selection Panel uses a wide range of criteria to select the best performers in the financial industry based on extensive information gathered by their research team.

The award was presented to Meshari by Kumutha Ramanathan the associate producer of World Finance at the London Stock Exchange.  Meshari who has over three decades of experience in the financial industry specifically in Islamic banking was acknowledged by World Finance for his outstanding leadership, sound governance and contribution to the growth of Islamic Finance in Qatar and the region.

Upon receiving the award Meshari commented “I am honoured to receive this prestigious award from World Finance. Islamic Finance has witnessed robust growth over the years specifically after having proven its resilience to economic downturns.  It has also gained global interest with non-muslim countries like Britain looking at ways to tap into this emerging market. Over the past decade Qatar has undertaken many initiatives to ensure proper regulation of this vibrant sector and encourage the introduction of innovative products to further boost its growth”.  Meshari continued “Islamic finance’s full potential still needs to be unlocked.  According to a study undertaken by Ernst & Young it is expected to cross the milestone of USD 2trillion by 2014.  At QFB we plan to introduce innovative products and investment vehicles to tap into this promising market”.

Ahmad holds a Master’s of Business Administration from the University of Ottawa and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Kuwait University.  He is a Fellow member at the Arab Academy for Banking and Financial Services and has been a holder of the Certified Lender of Business Banking from the Institute of Certified Bankers in the USA since 2003.