BEIRUT: Growth in Bank Audi’s local and foreign operations – mainly Turkey and Egypt – have outpaced the contraction of its activity in Syria, the bank reported Sunday as it released its 2012 end year results.
Bank Audi sal-Audi Saradar group reported a 5 percent year-on-year growth in net profits with total assets rising by 8.9 percent relative to end 2011 despite the contraction of Bank Audi Syria assets by half a billion dollars in 2012.
Launched in November 2012, Odeabank, Audi’s Turkish subsidiary, raised $2 billion in assets, $1.4 billion in deposits and $966 million in loans, the bank statement said.
Audi’s strategy in Turkey will focus on expanding to 100 branches from the current six, turning the subsidiary into the group’s second biggest operations behind Lebanon, the statement added.
Despite the contraction of economic activity in Syria, the share of Audi’s consolidated assets abroad rose from 28.0 percent at end-December 2011 to 32.3 percent at end-December 2012.
Audi’s consolidated assets rose by $2.6 billion during the year 2012 to reach $31.3 billion at the end of December 2012 and $39.8 billion when accounting for fiduciary deposits, security accounts and assets under management, the bank said in a statement.
The growth in assets was mainly due to rising customers’ deposits which grew 8.1 percent in 2012, or $2 billion, to reach $26.8 billion by the end of 2012. The group’s net earnings grew from $365 million in 2011 to $384 million.
Operating profits before provisions and taxes rose by 7.9 percent and by 10.8 percent when including profits from discontinued operations.
The Lebanese banking sector continued to see moderate growth last year despite a weakening Lebanese economy due to the regional turmoil mainly in Syria, which also led to losses due to loan impairments.
Audi’s total collective provisions reached $111 million at end-December 2012, the equivalent of 1.1 percent of the consolidated net loans portfolio, while loan loss provisions stood at $221 million, translating in a coverage of doubtful loans by specific provisions of 76.3 percent.
Gross doubtful loans to gross loans ratio also improved, reaching 2.68 percent at end-December 2012. Net doubtful loans accounted for 0.63 percent of gross loans, a relatively low level.
Audi’s consolidated shareholders’ equity reached $2.7 billion, accounting for 8.6 percent of the bank’s consolidated assets, and translating into a Basel III capital adequacy ratio of around 11.6 percent, 1.6 percentage points higher than the international regulatory requirement.
“The 2012 results confirm once again the Group’s ability to maintain favorable activity and earnings growth and pursue its expansionary strategy aiming to strengthen its leading positioning in the Near East and Turkey, with Lebanon, Egypt and Turkey becoming the pillars of growth in coming years,” the bank statement said.