OREANDA-NEWS. The Bahrain based leading Islamic banking group, Al Baraka Banking Group B.S.C (ABG) announced a net income of US$ 214 million for the first nine months of 2015, reporting an increase of 3% over the net income of the same period of last year. The growth rate of income was affected by the appreciation of US$ against local currencies for some countries in which the Group operates. If the currency depreciation effects were excluded, net income growth rate will reach 19%. Net operating income rose by 12% to reach US$ 333 million during the same period. The balance sheet items achieved moderate increases, as total assets increased by 2% and total financing and investments by 2% at the end of September 2015 compared to the end December 2014. These results confirm the Group's continuation to achieve the distinguished results in accordance with successful business strategies and programs applied, based on sustained income resources and expansion of customer base through increasing the number of branches, which contributed to increased volume of business, despite the effects of currencies devaluation and fluctuation in financial and economic situations regionally and internationally.

On this occasion, H.E. Shaikh Saleh Abdulla Kamel, Chairman of Al Baraka Banking Group, stated "We are pleased with the financial results achieved by the Group in the first nine months of 2015, given the slowdown in global economic growth and the continuation of a number of political and economic risks surrounding the countries in the region. From the beginning, the Group has followed an approach that is characterized by wisdom and hedge based on the continuation of cautious expansion and growth strategies and at the same time, building human, technical and material capabilities of the Group to face the various risks. It would not have been possible to realize all of these achievements, were it not for the long standing experience of the Group; and its stringent adherence to the Islamic banking model, which calls upon us to work on the development of land and serve the communities amongst which we operate, while being committed at all times to the highest ethical and professional standards".

On his part, Mr. Abdulla Ammar Al Saudi, Deputy Chairman of ABG said, "the financial and operating results we achieved during the first nine months of 2015 are very good by all standards, taking into account the current international and regional banking situations and slowdown in economic growth in major countries. We would like to emphasize that our financing and investment policies and activities during the first half of this year were actively focused on investment opportunities arising from the current situation, whereby we capitalized on our substantial resources and extensive geographical network. However, our cautious and selective approach, together with the extreme caution exercised towards the markets and customers in implementing our financial and investment programs has created the desired results".

Mr. Adnan Ahmed Yousif, Member of the Board of Directors and President & Chief Executive of Al Baraka Banking Group said "ABG has encountered Baraka many challenges during the past few months, most notably is the depreciation of currencies in some countries in which our units operate, which affected the growth rate of the balance sheet items and income, as net income will rise by 19% during the first nine months of 2015, if the effects of currencies depreciation are excluded. We have been able to compensate for this effect by increasing the volume of business in the Group units significantly. Therefore, we consider the results that we achieved during the half nine months of 2015 are good and highlighted once more our determination to continue to invest our substantial financial resources and expertise and the wide geographic network of the subsidiary units of the Group in maximizing the returns to our shareholders and the investors”.

“We are very pleased to see the contribution of all our banking units in the growth of profits of the Group, which reflects the sound financial positions enjoyed by these units. Coincided with this, the cooperation between the Group's units in trade financing activities for MENA countries have increased, which contributed to the emergence of the role of the Group as a key player in promoting trade and investment between these countries”.

With regard to the Group's plans to expand its branch network, the President & Chief Executive said that "following our adding of 30 new branches in the first nine months of 2015 to bring total branches to 579 branches at the end of September 2015, we intend to bring the total of new branches to be opened in 2015 to 54 branches. This reflects our determination to consolidate and expand our activities in the countries where we operate currently. We would also like to refer here, in particular, to the role of the expansion of the branches in the creation of rewarding jobs to citizens in the communities in which we operate, which is reflected in the total number of Group employees. There is no doubt that the success in achieving this translates one of the main pillars of the banking business model, which is committed by the Group".

“In terms of geographical expansion, we finished, by God Praise, from the legal requirements of our application to establish a banking unit in Morocco, which will serve as a major achievement on the level of entry to this important and large market with rich opportunities, and thus will complete our presence network in all the Arab Maghreb countries approximately”.

“During September 2015, our unit in Turkey, Al Baraka Turk Participation Bank, had concluded a syndicated Sharia compliant Murabaha financing, raising a total of US$450 million divided in US$ 278 million and EUR 154.5 million. A number of 17 international banks from 11 countries participated in the facility covering all main world financial centers. We are indeed delighted at the large success of the syndicated Murabaha financing deal, despite the volatile financial markets and international economic situation, which endorses the reputation of Al Baraka Turk Participation Bank and its distinguished position in the Turkish market, based on the strength of its financial position and growing performance over the past many ears, as well as the distinguished reputation and position of the parent company, Al Baraka Banking Group, regionally and internationally”.

“During the same month also, Dagong Global Credit Rating Company Limited (Dagong) and Islamic International Rating Agency (IIRA) jointly reaffirmed the international investment grade credit rating of Al Baraka Banking Group at 'BBB+/A3' (Triple B Plus / A Three). In addition, IIRA has reaffirmed ABG's national scale rating at 'A+(bh)/A2(bh)' (Single A Plus / A Two). Outlook on the assigned ratings is 'Stable'. IIRA has also reassessed the group's overall fiduciary score in the range of '76-80', which indicates strong fiduciary standards and a well-developed governance structure, wherein rights of various stakeholders are well defined and protected”.

The President & Chief Executive advised that the Group, during the past months, has been working on leveraging the advantages of the unifying the IT network amongst the units and to modernize the institutional, human and technical infrastructure of the Group, by developing the regulations, applications and practices of social responsibility, corporate governance, training, compliance, AML, risk management and FATCA regulations in according with latest international standards.

The President & Chief Executive of the Group added, "We intend to implement many plans and initiatives during the remaining part of 2015. These will include opening new branches, entering new markets, launching new and innovative products and services in our markets, improving the internal operating environment technically and professionally, enhancing the unified culture related to the Group's corporate identity, increasing inter-unit business amongst Al Baraka Units, as well as enhancing the standing of ABG in the international markets as a whole•. We once again stress on our determination to continue to invest our substantial financial resources and expertise and the wide geographic network of the units of the Group towards maximizing the returns for our shareholders and the investors in the Group".

The President & Chief Executive of ABG concluded his statement by praising the tireless efforts of the executive management at the Group's Head Office, the executive management teams of the banking units of Al Baraka Banking Group and related parties that were instrumental in achieving these excellent results for the Group.

According to the financial statements of the Group, total operating profit amounted to US$ 738 million for the first nine months of 2015, which is markedly higher by 10% compared to the same period in 2014 of US$ 673 million. After deducting all operating expenses which increased by 7%, the net operating income for the first nine months of 2015 amounted to US$ 333 million, also increasing remarkably by 12% compared to the same period in 2014. This reflects the noticeable increases in business volume of the Group's units and their successes in diversifying the income from fees, commissions and banking services and despite the negative effects of currency fluctuations on the growth rate of income. After deducting taxes and provisions, the net income of the Group reached US$ 214 million for the first nine months of 2015, up by 3% compared to the same period in 2014 of US$ 207 million. Net income attributable to equity holders of the parent amounted to US$ 121 million, an increase of 5% compared to the same period last year.

With regard to the results of the third quarter of this year compared with the results of the same quarter in 2014, the total operating income increased by 3% to reach US$236 million. After deducting all expenses and provisions, the net income for the third quarter of the year 2015 amounted to US$ 64 million, which is almost the same level of net income in the third quarter of 2014. Net income attributable to equity holders of the parent for the third quarter of 2015 amounted to US$ 36 million compared to US$ 35 million for the same period last year, which represent an increase of 4%.

The balance sheet items witnessed moderate increases which were affected by the fluctuations in currency exchanges in some main markets where the Group's units operate. The Group's total assets increased by 2% to reach US$ 24 billion as at the end of September 2015 compared to the end of December 2014. The operating assets (financing and investments) amounted to US$ 17.9 billion as at the end of September 2015 compared to US$ 17.6 billion at the end of December 2014, an increase of 2%. Customer accounts maintained their December 2014 level of US$ 19.9 billion as at the end of September 2015, representing 83% of total assets, which highlighted the strength of the customer deposits base. Total shareholders' equity amounted to US$ 2 billion as at the end of September 2015.

On this occasion, H.E. Sheikh Saleh Abdulla Kamel, Chairman of Al Baraka Banking Group, Mr. Abdulla Ammar Al Saudi, Vice Chairman, Mr. Abdulla Saleh Kamel, Vice Chairman, and Mr. Adnan Ahmed Yousif, President & Chief Executive and all Members of the Board of Directors of ABG expressed their sincere thanks to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Central Bank of Bahrain, Bahrain Bourse and Nasdaq Dubai for the cooperation and assistance they extended to the Group since it was established. They also extended their thanks to all the Central Banks in the countries in which Group's banks operate and to all the investors and customers for their continued support. The Board also thanked all the employees of the Group for their loyalty, hard work and dedication, all of which have contributed to the successes and achievements of the Group.

Al Baraka Banking Group (B.S.C) is licensed as an Islamic wholesale bank by the Central Bank of Bahrain, listed on Bahrain Bourse and Nasdaq Dubai stock exchanges. It is a leading international Islamic banking group providing its unique services in countries with a population totaling around one billion. It is jointly rated BBB+ (long term) / A3 (short term) on the international scale and A+ (bh) (long term) / A2 (bh) (short term) on the national scale with a Stable outlook by Islamic International Rating Agency & Dagong Global Credit Rating Company Limited, and by Standard & Poor's at BB+ (long term) / B (short term) with a Stable outlook. Al Baraka offers retail, corporate, treasury and investment banking services, strictly in accordance with the principles of the Islamic Shari'a. The authorized capital of Al Baraka is US$ 1.5 billion, while total equity is at about US$ 2 billion.

The Group has a wide geographical presence in the form of subsidiary banking units and representative offices in fifteen countries, which in turn provide their services through over 579 branches. Al Baraka currently has a strong presence in Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Sudan, Bahrain, Pakistan, South Africa, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, including two representative offices in Indonesia and Libya.