For the year ended December 31, 2003, UGB recorded a net profit of US$ 36.2 million or 47 cents per share. The Board of Directors has recommended to its Annual General Meeting of shareholders a record cash dividend of 14 per cent of the share value, or 3.5 cents per share.
UGB chairman and KIPCO managing director, chief executive officer Faisal Al Ayyar commented: “As it enters its Silver Jubilee year, United Gulf Bank is in a very healthy financial position, having distinguished itself in difficult and uncertain operating environments. UGB’s core business lines in wealth management, commercial banking, real estate, portfolio investments and corporate finance continue to produce excellent results. Key subsidiaries and associates including KIPCO Asset Management Company (KAMCO), United Real Estate Company, Jordan Kuwait Bank and Tunis International Bank are in a strong growth trend, as performance in 2003 exceeded our expectations.
“Consequently, the share price of these investments now substantially exceeds our carrying values. In 2003, we also benefited from a number of investment realisations including the sale of Baltic Transit Bank and, as predicted last year, from a recovery in regional and global capital markets. Our expectations for 2004 and beyond are most encouraging,” he said.
UGB’s total revenue in 2003 of US$ 113.6 million almost doubled over the US$ 58.1 recorded in 2002. Total Assets were US$ 1,187 million compared to US$ 939.4 million, a rise of 26 per cent. Equity grew by 23 per cent to US$ 260.3 million from US$ 210.8 million in 2002.
UGB managing director Masaud Hayat, commented: “Our asset allocation strategy has clearly paid off. Our diversification has shielded us from difficult markets, and going forward ensures that we continue to benefit from the positive performance in our varied businesses. In 2003, we further reinforced the asset quality of our portfolios by taking US$ 23.4 million of provisions.”
He said business activity highlights of the year included the raising of a US$ 60 million 3/5-year bond (BBB rated) from the Kuwaiti markets; the successful listing of KAMCO on the Kuwait Stock Exchange; the signing of a strategic alliance with Doha Bank-Qatar; and advising on and participation in the mobile telecommunications license in northern Iraq.
UGB’s main subsidiaries are Tunis International Bank, Tunisia; KAMCO Kuwait; UGB Securities Co., Bahrain; and Algeria Gulf Bank (under formation) Algeria. UGB also has equity interests of 44 per cent in Jordan Kuwait Bank, Jordan; 34 per cent in United Real Estate Company( URC), Kuwait; and 49 per cent in United Industries Company (UIC), Kuwait.
UGB’s activities consist of private equity and fund investments, quoted equities, asset management, corporate finance, real estate, treasury and selective commercial banking services.
KIPCO, with assets of more than US$ 10 billion under management or control, is one of the leading diversified holding companies in the Middle East and North Africa and a major regional force in financial services and media & technology, with further interests in real estate and industry. The largest private company in Kuwait, KIPCO employs more than 10,000 people internationally and its shares are the most actively traded on the Kuwait Stock Exchange.
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