MANAMA, BAHRAIN – 27 February 2017 – Ithmaar Holding BSC (formerly Ithmaar Bank BSC) (Ithmaar) reported today (ed note: 27/02/17) a net profit of US$13.80 million for the year ended 31 December 2016, compared to a net loss of US$46.40 million reported for 2015. Net profit attributable to equity holders of the Bank for the year ended 31 December 2016 was US$3.28 million, compared to a net loss US$60.80 million reported for 2015.
The 2016 financial results include a net loss for the three-month period ended 31 December 2016 of US$2.93 million compared to the net loss of US$57.79 million reported for the same period last year. Net loss attributable to equity holders of the Bank for the three-month period ended 31 December 2016 was US$3.23 million compared to the US$62.90 million net loss reported for the same period last year.
The announcement, by Ithmaar Bank Chairman His Royal Highness Prince Amr Al Faisal, follows the review and approval, by the Board of Directors, of Ithmaar’s consolidated financial results for the year ended 31 December 2016.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that Ithmaar has returned to profitability for 2016 as it continues to show stable growth in its core retail banking business,” said HRH Prince Amr. “This is most clearly reflected in Ithmaar’s net income, before overseas taxation, which amounted to US$36.74 million, for the year ended 31 December 2016, a 315 percent increase and a complete turnaround from the US$17.07 million net loss, before overseas taxation, reported for 2015,” he said.
“This is, in a large part, a result of continuously improving Ithmaar’s products and services while also keeping costs and expenses under control,” said HRH Prince Amr. “Total expenses for the year ended 31 December 2016, for example, amounted to US$192.10 million, a marginal increase from the total expenses of US$190.41 million reported for 2015. This is despite the continuous expansions of Ithmaar’s retail banking operations both in Bahrain and in Pakistan, where 75 new branches were opened in 2016.” he said.
“Ithmaar’s financial performance in 2016 is testimony to the efforts invested in focusing on developing the Bank’s core retail banking business,” said HRH Prince Amr. “We are confident that, following the completion of the reorganisation and the formal commencement of the new group structure this year, we will further develop this growth,” he said.
The new structure, which was proposed by the Bank’s Board of Directors and approved by shareholders in March 2016, resulted in the conversion of Ithmaar Bank B.S.C into Ithmaar Holding B.S.C. (Ithmaar Holding), which is licensed and regulated by the Central Bank of Bahrain
(CBB) and is listed on the Bahrain Bourse and Boursa Kuwait. Ithmaar Holding retains 100 percent ownership of all assets formerly owned by Ithmaar Bank B.S.C., through two wholly-owned subsidiaries Ithmaar Bank B.S.C (closed) (Ithmaar Bank), an Islamic retail bank subsidiary which holds the core retail banking business, and IB Capital B.S.C. (closed) (IB Capital), an investment subsidiary, which holds investments and other non-core assets. The two subsidiaries are licensed and regulated by the CBB.
“In this context, we extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to the Central Bank of Bahrain and the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism as well as the Bahrain Bourse and Boursa Kuwait for their outstanding support which has led to the completion of the two-year long reorganisation project successfully on time,” said HRH Prince Amr.
Ithmaar Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, noted that the 2016 financial results demonstrate that Ithmaar’s efforts to grow its core retail banking business were paying off, and said the new structure will facilitate it taking advantage of new growth opportunities and help generate greater value to shareholders.
“I am pleased to report that Ithmaar’s financial performance in 2016 indicates that efforts to focus on our core retail banking business are clearly paying off,” said Abdul Rahim. “The core business areas of financing, customer deposits, and unrestricted investment account holders have achieved good growth, resulting in increasing total assets to US$8.34 billion as at 31 December 2016, an increase of 2.5 percent from US$8.14 billion as at 31 December 2015,” he said.
“I am pleased, also, to report that our customer deposits continue to grow,” said Abdul Rahim. “This is evident from the equity of unrestricted investment account holders growing to US$2.77 billion as at 31 December 2016, a 15.5 percent increase compared to US$2.40 billion as at 31 December 2015,” he said.
“This increase reflects customer confidence in Ithmaar, and is a further evidence that Ithmaar’s efforts to grow continuously closer to its customers are paying off,” said Abdul Rahim. “Current accounts and due to investors, for example, grew to US$3.48 billion as at 31 December 2016, a 9.3 percent increase compared to US$3.19 billion as at 31 December 2015. Total Financing (Murabaha, Musharaka and Ijarah) also increased to US$3.93 billion as at 31 December 2016, a 5.7 percent increase from US$3.72 billion as at 31 December 2015,” he said.
“The shareholders’ equity increased to US$427.4 million as at 31 December 2016, a 3.2 percent increase from US$414.2 million as at 31 December 2015,” said Abdul Rahim.
Abdul Rahim also thanked the CBB and the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, as well as the Bahrain Bourse and Boursa Kuwait for their continued guidance and support.
“The new group structure will assist the Bank’s long-term strategy for growth by providing greater insight into the strength of its core retail banking operations and further facilitating the focussed management of the Group’s investment assets,” said Abdul Rahim.
“The financial results consistently show that our efforts to significantly transform the Group’s operations and focus on developing our core business are paying off, and that we are on the right track,” said Abdul Rahim. “The new structure is the next logical step in this process, and underlines our commitment to become one of the region’s leading Islamic financial institution,” he said.
In 2016, Ithmaar further expanded its retail banking network, both in Bahrain where it added a new full-service branch in Galali and two Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in Hamad Town, as well as in Pakistan, where Faysal Bank Limited added 75 new, full-service Islamic branches.
In line with its commitment to continuously improving its products and services, Ithmaar partnered with Batelco and Arab Financial Services to launch Bahrain’s first ever mobile payment solution, Easy Pay, in 2016. The solution uses secure Near Field Communication (NFC) tags to eliminate the need for cash or cards by allowing customers to shop simply by tapping their mobile phones at Point of Sale (POS) machines. The formal launch earlier this year marked a key milestone for the Bahrain retail market, potentially revolutionizing shopping experiences of the customers with secure, real-time payments now possible directly from their mobile phones.
Ithmaar was last year singled out among the world’s Islamic banks for a prestigious international award in recognition of its Corporate Social Responsibility and Financial Disclosure. The independent award was presented at the World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) that was in Bahrain last year in strategic partnership with the CBB. The WIBC is a high-profile event, which was attended by leading international banking experts, and is widely recognised as one of the most important events on the world Islamic banking calendar.