Lebanon's 3 largest banks grow amid challenges
During 2011, Lebanon's three largest Lebanese banks (BLOM, Audi, and Byblos) have shown resilience, growing their earnings despite turbulence uncertainty and dramatic changes in the region.
The events in neighboring Syria and the political disputes in Lebanon along with falling interest rates have set a challenging environment for Lebanese Banks, as reported by The Lebanon Brief, BLOM Bank’s economic publication.
"Nevertheless, these banks have been accustomed to operating in a turbulent environment, taking more precautions on average than banks in the region. This is reflected through their high Tier 1 capital, which has grown by 8.7 percent at BLOM, 4.3 percent at Byblos, and 0.9 percent at Audi,” the report stated.
On an individual basis, Bank Audi reported the highest absolute level of net profits at $365 million, growing by 3.7% over 2010.
BLOM Bank came second, growing by 0.3% to reach net profits of $332 million while Byblos profits grew by 1.2% to reach $180 million.
When looking at profitability ratios, which represent the bank’s ability to generate earnings from its equity and assets, BLOM Bank registered the highest rate of return on equity (ROE) at 19.2% with a return on assets (ROA) of 1.46%. Bank Audi comes second with an ROE of 16.4% and an ROA of 1.27%, followed by Byblos Bank with an ROE of 13.6% and an ROA of 1.13%, the report said.
Growth in assets has been registered by the three banks, growth in equity was only reported at BLOM and Byblos. BLOM’s equity grew by 4.9% over 2010 to reach $1.98 billion while Byblos reported 1.1% growth in equity reaching $1.65 billion. Audi’s equity slightly retreated by 2.7% to reach $2.35 billion.
As for assets, the highest asset growth was registered by Byblos with its total assets growing 8.6% to reach $16.6 billion with its customer deposits increasing 7.8% to reach $12.8 billion. BLOM’s total assets grew by 3.7% to reach $23.2 billion with its customer deposits increasing by 3.5% to reach $20.3 billion. Audi Bank follows, growing its assets by 0.2% to reach $28.7 billion, however its customer deposits, the report added.
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