(MENAFN - Arab Times) Gulf Bank today announced a net profit of KD 8.7 million for the first quarter of 2014, up 10% from KD 7.9 million over the same period in 2013. Operating profit before provisions was KD 23.6 million vs KD 23.0 million for the same period last year. The Bank has continued its strategy to build a fortress balance sheet, increasing precautionary general provisions to KD 162 million, and by reducing the non-performing loans (i.e 'NPL') ratio from 6.5% to 5.4% during the quarter . The Bank has increased the total coverage ratio of non-performing loans to over 214%
Commenting on the results, Omar Kutayba Alghanim, Gulf Bank's Chairman said: "The first quarter has proved to be a strong start to the year. Gulf Bank is making good progress in implementing its five year growth strategy, as well as continuing its focus on customer-centricity and financial discipline. We look forward to an exciting year ahead." Csar Gonz¡lez-Bueno, Gulf Bank's Chief Executive Officer said: "I am pleased to report the positive results Gulf Bank has achieved in the first quarter of the year. Aside from the increase in net profit, the Bank's loans have grown by 13.9%, and our non-performing loans ratio has fallen to 5.4%, continuing its downward trend and now approaching a long-term acceptable figure.
In the short time I have been at Gulf Bank, I have seen many positive indicators. We have an excellent client base, a strong supporting Board of Directors and dedicated and focused employees. The balance sheet is strong, and we are in the process of finishing the resolution of our legacy issues and ending a long period of recovery. We can therefore shift our emphasis to serve our customers even better, and continue to grow with them. We now have the foundations to do that.