19/07/2018 07:50 AST

The Commercial Bank, its subsidiaries and associates announced yesterday its financial results for the half year ended 30 June 2018. The Group reported a net profit of QR855m as compared to QR180m for the same period in 2017, an increase of 376 percent.

The total assets of the Group rose by 4.8 percent to QR139.9bn. The customer loans and advances increased by 4.3 percent to QR87.2bn. The Group’s operating profit was up by 12.3 percent to QR1.2bn.

Commenting on the bank’s stellar performance for period Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali bin Jabor Al Thani, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Commercial Bank, said, “The Qatari economy remains extremely resilient, demonstrating sustained GDP growth with Fitch and Moody’s upgrading Qatar’s outlook from negative to stable. In this, the second year of our five year plan, the Bank has made very good progress in reshaping its business for sustained growth. As Commercial Bank’s activities closely align with the strategic economic objectives of the nation, our Bank is well positioned to benefit from the resilience and growth of the economy.

Hussain Al Fardan, Commercial Bank’s Vice Chairman, added, “This quarter, the Bank continues to position itself to show significant improved bottom line performance in coming years. For example, the Bank achieved a successful issuance of a $500m bond as part of the Bank’s European Medium Term Note (“EMTN”) Programme.The bond issuance was twice oversubscribed, a clear indication of the confidence of international investors in the strength and stability of Qatar’s economy, and a testament to the growth prospects of Commercial Bank, underpinned by its strategy, financial strength and prudent management.

Net operating income for the Group increased by 3.7 percent to QR1.83bn for the half year ended 30 June 2018, up from QR1.76bn achieved in the same period in 2017. Net interest income for the Group increased by 8.2 percent to QR1.32bnfor the half year ended 30 June 2018 compared to QR1.22bn achieved in the same period in 2017, driven mainly by strong loan growth. Net interest margin is 2.3 percent for the half year, an increase of 0.1 percent compared to H1 2017.

Total operating expenses were tightly managed at a Group level, down 9.7 percent to QR620m for the half year ended 30 June 2018compared with QR688m for the same period in 2017. Costs reductions were primarily driven by lower staff and administrative expenses.

The Group’s net provisions for loans and advancesdecreased by 51.9 percent to QR462m for the half year ended 30 June 2018, from QR962m for the same period in 2017. The non-performing loan (NPL) ratio decreased to 5.39 percent in the half year ended 30June 2018 compared to 5.64 percent for the same period in 2017. The loan coverage ratio is maintained at 84.2 percent in the half year ended 30 June 2018 compared to 84.3 percent for the same period in 2017.

The Group’s investment securities increased by 15.2 percent to QR21.7bn for the half year ended 30 June 2018 compared with QR18.8bn for the same period last year. The increase is mainly in Government bonds. The Group’s customer deposits increased by 1.0 percent to QR75.1bn for the half year ended 30 June 2018, compared with QR74.4bn for the same period last year.

Joseph Abraham, Commercial Bank’s Group Chief Executive Officer, commented, “The benefits of our 5-year strategic plan and its continued execution are evident in our H1 2018 results, with a consolidated operating profit of QR1.21bn and a net profit of QR855m, representing a 12 percent and a 376 percent increase over the same period last year, respectively.

“As advised previously we have completed the majority of the legacy loan book provisioning and the lowered credit charge has benefited our bottom line. More importantly, during the first half of the year we continued to grow our business with a focus on the government and service sector, while also maintaining a tight focus on efficiency and driving down our cost to income ratio.”

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