Kuwait– 30 March 2008: Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based investment bank with global reach, will be listed on one of the Middle East’s most buoyant stock markets, the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE), from tomorrow (31 March 2008). The Bank, the eighth Bahrain-based company to be listed on the Kuwaiti exchange, will maintain its listing on the Bahrain Stock Exchange (BSE), where it was the most actively traded company by volume in 2007.
“There is no doubt that there is very strong demand among Gulf investors for the Bank’s shares. A total of BD235.5 million ($624.6 million) Ithmaar Bank shares changed hands on the BSE in 2007. This is equal to 27.7 per cent of the total number of shares traded, which is more than any other company listed on the Bahraini exchange,” said Ithmaar Bank Chairman, Khalid Abdulla-Janahi.
“This second listing in Kuwait, which will make our shares even more accessible to investors in the region, will mean greater liquidity and less share price volatility. We already have a very significant number of Kuwaiti shareholders. Our listing on the KSE will make it easier for them to trade their shares, and will also attract new shareholders from Kuwait and elsewhere in the region,” added Janahi.
A Press conference was held at the KSE’s premises in Kuwait City today (30 March 2008), which was attended by Ithmaar Bank CEO & Member of the Board, Michael P. Lee and Co-CEO, Mohammed Hussain, as well as Ithmaar Development Company CEO & Member of the Board, Mohammed Khalil Alsayed.
Ithmaar’s Kuwait listing follows the Bank’s announcement of a record consolidated net profit of $188.3 million for the year ended 31 December 2007. This is up from the $181.1 million profit earned in 2006, a result which benefited from a one-off gain of $105.5 million on the sale of a subsidiary, Islamic Investment Company of the Gulf (Bahamas) Limited. Excluding this item, the Bank’s net profit more than doubled in 2007, when compared with the previous year. Shareholders’ equity, meanwhile, surged 37 per cent, to $1.1 billion, while total assets soared 23 per cent, to $4.1 billion. The Bank’s operating income jumped 173 per cent, to $339.5 million, and its return on average equity remained strong at 15.6 per cent.
Ithmaar Bank and its six flagship subsidiaries and associates are collectively known as the Ithmaar banking group, which is the most diversified financial services group operating globally from the Middle East. The group consists of Swiss-based Faisal Private Bank, Pakistan-based investment and commercial bank Faysal Bank Limited and Bahrain-based Ithmaar Bank, Shamil Bank (a commercial and investment bank), Solidarity (a global takaful company), First Leasing Bank (the first bank GCC specialising in equipment leasing) and Ithmaar Development Company (the manager and developer of the group’s high quality development projects, with a portfolio currently valued at $3.3 billion).
“Ithmaar Bank’s private equity activities are set to take centre stage in 2008, with the launch of several new investment funds with a particular focus on the high growth region of the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA), but also addressing other selective geographic markets. The Bank’s Investment Banking Group is also expected to make a major contribution to Ithmaar Bank’s results this year,” said Lee.
Hussain said that the Bank’s subsidiaries and associates, all of which were not exposed to the sub-prime crisis which affected global markets last year, are also well positioned for further growth in 2008.
“Shamil Bank, of course, continues to do remarkably well. It has reported record results every year since its inception in 2000, this year posting an $80.6 million net profit. Meanwhile, another 100 per cent Ithmaar Bank’s subsidiary, Ithmaar Development Company, has begun implementing its $3.3 billion projects portfolio, which is certain to have a ripple effect on the regional economy through the creation of new jobs and opportunities for cross-border business,” said Hussain.
The Ithmaar banking group made significant strides in the consolidation of its various activities. Late last year Ithmaar Bank acquired the remaining 40 per cent of Shamil Bank shares which were publicly held, resulting in both Shamil Bank and its Swiss subsidiary Faisal Private Bank becoming wholly-owned by Ithmaar. The transaction also saw Ithmaar Bank’s effective stake in Pakistan-based Faysal Bank Limited increase to 65.72 per cent.
The Ithmaar banking group’s services include investment, private, retail, and commercial banking, private equity, mergers & acquisition advice, takaful, equipment leasing and real estate development. The group’s business covers the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, as well as South Asia, Asia-Pacific and Europe