Samba's profits decline for second consecutive quarter

16 April 2007

Saudi Arabian bank Samba Financial Group has posted a second straight drop in quarterly profits.

Profits for the bank, which is the second-largest Gulf Arab bank in terms of market value, fell 11 per cent to $338.7 million, down from £381.3 million for the same period last year.

In a brief statement to the press, Eisa Al Eisa, Samba's chief executive attributed the decline to a downturn in revenue derived from the company's brokerage wing.

Samba's results mean it is the sixth bank in the territory to report diminished earnings in the first quarter.

However, according to Ibrahim al-Alwan, deputy chief executive of KSB Capital Group, an asset management and brokerage company, the signs are there that the investment banking market is due to experience better health soon.

He told Reuters: "There should be some sort of a recovery this year and Samba will benefit from its recent expansion in Pakistan, the economic growth in the kingdom and the IPOs [initial public offerings] it will be lead-managing, and where it has a remarkable record."

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