Posted on : Mon, 08 Feb 2010

Doha, 08 February 2010 - Qatar National Bank (QNB) announced today that its Ordinary General Assembly has approved the Bank's Audited Financial Results for the year ended 31 December 2009.

The General Assembly has also ratified the Board of Directors’ proposal to distribute a cash dividend of 40% of the nominal share value (QR4.0 for each share). In addition, the Extraordinary General Assembly approved the Board of Director’s recommendation to issue bonus shares comprising 30% of the share capital to shareholders.

The General Assembly also elected 5 Members from the private sector to the Board of Directors to serve a three-year term. These members include H.E. Sheikh Jassem Bin Abdulaziz Bin Jassem Bin Hamad Al-Thani, H.E. Sheikh Hamad Bin Abdullah Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Mr. Ali Hussain Ali Al-Sada, Mr. Bader Abdullah Darwish Fakhro and Mr. Fahad Mohammed Fahad Buzwair.

The General Assembly also approved the appointment of KPMG as External Auditors for the year 2010.

During the General Assembly, H.E. Yousef Hussain Kamal, Chairman of QNB's Board of Directors, presented an overview of the Bank's activities in 2009 and financial results, along with the business plan for the year 2010.

H.E. the Chairman said that QNB was able to deliver outstanding financial results for 2009 with Net Profit exceeding QR4.2 billion, representing an increase of 15% over 2008, despite the economic and financial crisis that faced many countries around the world, reaffirming its leading position domestically and internationally. These results were the outcome of a conservative approach to risk management.

The Bank’s Total Assets increased by 18% to reach QR179.3 billion, while customer deposits and unrestricted investment accounts increased by 20.7% to reach QR125.9 billion. Loans and advances and financing activities grew by 8.7% to reach QR108.8 billion. Despite this increase, QNB was able to maintain its non-performing loans ratio at 0.7% of gross loans, clearly demonstrating the Bank’s success in maintaining the high quality of its loan portfolio through an effective risk management approach.

Net operating income increased to QR5.7 billion, up by 11.1% from 2008. The Bank was able to achieve strong growth in most sources of Other Income with net interest income and income from financing activities increasing by 31.4% to reach QR3.7 billion.

QNB was also able to control general and administrative expenses which reflected positively of the efficiency ratio (cost to income ratio) which decreased to 19.6%, from 20.5% in 2008.

Total shareholders’ equity at year-end 2009 reached QR19.8 billion, up by 18.9% from the prior year. The increase in net profit resulted in an increase in earnings per share to QR14.0, from QR12.3 in 2008.

QNB Al Islami also succeeded in achieving excellent results during 2009, with net profit reaching QR420.3 million, up by 26.9% from 2008. Financing activities reached QR14.5 billion, up by 114% from 2008. Total assets reached QR22.0 billion, up by 64.5% from 2008, while unrestricted investment accounts reached QR18.8 billion, up by 81.5% from the prior year.

In recognition of QNB's leading position and its ability to deliver strong financial results, its strong capital base and the high quality of its assets, the Bank’s high credit rating has been affirmed by all leading credit agencies. This is an outstanding achievement given that rating agencies have in the past year being reviewing and downgrading banks’ rating around the globe.

2010 business plans included a focus on Islamic banking products and services, solidifying the relationship with overseas branches and associate companies, along with the expansion in key markets and the opening of additional branches.

2009 was a year of major achievements and marked the success of many initiatives and the entry into new markets as per the Bank’s international expansion plans. QNB expanded its presence in the Middle East and North Africa region through the opening in November 2009 of QNB-Syria in which it has a 49% stake. In November, the Bank also inaugurate QNB-Switzerland which provides a range of dedicated private banking products and services.

Amongst the new products introduced during 2009 was QNB Note 1, a capital protected note that is linked to selected stocks listed on the Qatar Exchange. This has enhanced QNB’s position as one of the largest fund managers in the region with assets under management exceeding QR10.2 billion. A prime example of the Bank’s strong capabilities in investments is the selection of QNB’s Al Watani Funds I & II and the Beit Al Mali Fund, as the best performing funds in Qatar managed by local and regional institutions.

QNB Capital played an instrumental role in the sovereign bond issues that took place in April 2009 which totaled $3.0 billion and the $7 billion issue that took place in November 2009, for which QNB Capital was appointed Joint Lead Manager. Also, given QNB’s long and established experience in managing Initial Public Offerings (IPO), QNB Capital was appointed a Joint Lead Manager and Financial Adviser to Vodafone Qatar's IPO.

In another major transaction, QNB was appointed the General Financial Adviser and one of the initial Mandated Lead Arrangers to Qatar Telecom’s $1.5 billion credit facility, which was one of the largest credit facilities and the first Forward Start Facility executed in the GCC.

In 2009, the Bank also launched a series of service enhancements to enhance its customer service portfolio. This included the expansion of the Bank’s domestic branch network by three branches, including one QNB Al Islami branch to bring the Bank’s total to 55 branches and offices including three mobile branches and 11 Islamic branches and offices. This network, being the largest distribution network in Qatar, is complemented by over 160 ATMs strategically located across the country.

During 2009, QNB was selected the Best Bank in Qatar by leading financial publications including The Banker, Euromoney and Global Finance. These awards are a clear reflection of Bank’s leading position in Qatar’s banking sector and the QNB Group’s continuing ability to record strong financial results.

QNB was a main sponsor of the 7th Doha Natural Gas Conference and Exhibition, reflecting the Bank’s commitment to the country’s industrial development including that of the natural gas industry, which is a core fundamental of the economy. The Bank also participated in the Qatar Career Fair 2009, one of the most important entry-level recruiting platforms in the country, aiming to offer unique opportunities to young Qataris and help them pursue bright futures in the financial sector with the QNB Group.

As part of its continuing efforts to participate and contribute effectively in supporting the community, QNB also launched an initiative to provide employment opportunities in various areas of the Bank’s operations for people with special needs. The Bank also continues to be a major patron of sporting events in Qatar and in 2009 confirmed the sponsorship of Qatar Sports Club in a deal lasting until the 2011-12 season, as well as becoming the title sponsor of the inaugural Qatar Stars Cup QNB Football Tournament. The Bank also regularly supports traditional sports such as camel racing, as well as other sporting events throughout the year.