QNB Group, a leading bank in the Middle East and Africa, continued to record robust growth in profitability, with Net Profit for 2015 amounting to QR11.3 billion (USD3.1 billion), up by 7.7% compared to 2014.
Based on the strong financial results for 2015 and consistent with QNB Group’s aim of maximizing returns to shareholders, the Board of Directors is recommending to the General Assembly the distribution of a cash dividend of 35% of the nominal share value (QAR3.5 per share) and a bonus shares of 20% of the share capital (Two shares for every ten shares). The financial results for 2015 along with the profit distribution are subject to Qatar Central Bank (QCB) approval.
The Group’s prudent cost control policy and strong revenue generating capability allowed it to maintain an efficiency ratio (cost to income ratio) of 21.5%, which is considered one of the best ratios among financial institutions in the region.
Total assets increased by 10.7% from December 2014 to reach QAR539 billion (USD147.9 billion), the highest ever achieved by the Group. This was the result of a strong growth rate of 14.8% in loans and advances to reach QAR388 billion (USD106.7 billion).
The Group was able to maintain the ratio of non-performing loans to gross loans at 1.4%, a level considered one of the lowest amongst banks in the Middle East and Africa, reflecting the high quality of the Group’s loan book and the effective management of credit risk. The Group’s conservative policy in regard to provisioning continued with the coverage ratio reaching 127% in December 2015.
At the same time QNB Group increased customer funding by 10.5% to QAR395 billion (USD108.6 billion). This led to the Group’s loan to deposit ratio reaching 98%.
Total Equity increased by 7.1% from December 2014 to reach QAR62 billion (USD17.0 billion) as at 31 December 2015. Earnings per Share reached QAR16.1 (USD4.4) compared to QAR14.9 in December 2014.
Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) calculated as per the QCB and Basel III requirements stood at 16.3% as at 31 December 2015, higher than the regulatory minimum requirements of the Qatar Central Bank and Basel Committee. The Group is keen to maintain a strong capitalization in order to support future strategic plans.
To further enhance the shareholders equity and continue to maintain a capital adequacy ratio higher than the regulatory minimum requirements of the Qatar Central Bank and Basel Committee, the Board of Directors agreed to recommend to the General Assembly to approve the issuance of capital instruments that qualify as Tier 1 additional capital and/or Tier 2 capital instruments in accordance with Qatar Central Bank and Basel Committee requirements, and authorize the Board of Directors to determine the size, timing, pricing and other related terms and conditions.
As a result of the Group’s high credit ratings and outstanding asset quality, it was selected as one of the world’s 50 safest financial institutions by Global Finance.
Based on the Group’s continuous strong performance and its expanding international presence, QNB improved its ranking within the Brand Finance Global Top 500 Banking Survey 2015 and is now the biggest bank brand by value in The Middle East and Africa. The QNB Ranking moved significantly from 101st (Brand Value: USD1.8 billion in 2014) to 79th (Brand Value: USD2.6 billion in 2015) further recognising QNB’s improved standing and strong brand recognition.
In December 2015, QNB Group entered into a definitive agreement with the National Bank of Greece for the acquisition of its entire stake comprising 99.81% in Finansbank A.Ş (Finansbank) in Turkey. QNB Group expects to finalise the transaction during the first half of 2016.
Also during the second half of 2015, QNB Group received approval from the Saudi Cabinet to open a branch in the Kingdom and the process of opening that branch has begun.
QNB Group is present, through its subsidiaries and associate companies, in more than 27 countries and 3 continents providing a comprehensive range of products and services. The total number of staff is more than 15,200 operating from over 635 locations and with an ATM network of more than 1,390 machines.