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.