“Best Local Bank in the UAE” for 2011

First Gulf Bank (FGB), the leading financial partner of choice in the UAE, was awarded the “Best Local Bank in the United Arab Emirates” award for 2011 during EMEA Finance’s Annual Middle East Banking Awards. FGB was honored during the event’s charity dinner, which was held at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers in Dubai on Wednesday 15 February.

Taking place for the fourth consecutive year, the Middle East Banking Awards aims to recognize leading banks in the region for their retail, investment banking, asset management and brokerage activities. It honors banks and financial institutions across the region including both local and international entities. The event is organized by leading financial publication EMEA Finance, which provides in depth reports and analytical pieces on European, Middle Eastern and African markets.

Commenting on the award, Andre’ Sayegh, CEO of First Gulf Bank said: “We are pleased to have received a prestigious award of this caliber, and to have been recognized for our achievements over the past year, which reflects FGB’s strong fundamentals and wise strategy, as well as our commitment to provide an excellent service to our customers and provide optimum returns to our shareholders.”

“Year after year and for over ten years, First Gulf Bank has delivered strong financial results. The year 2011 was another year of solid performance; FGB has recorded a net profit of AED 3,707 million, thus exceeding the $1B mark, an increase of 8% from its net profit for 2010. Despite a challenging global financial environment, our bank has been able to ensure consistent growth and attracted international investors to both our Sukuk issues of July 2011 and January 2012, which were oversubscribed many folds by international investors in the Middle East, Europe and Asia,” Sayegh added.

Christopher Moore, EMEA Finance’s publisher, said: “First Gulf Bank has seen exceptionally strong growth in key areas of performance like deposits, loans and market share in an intensely competitive and dynamic local banking market. During the year the bank’s impressive net profit grew 8% year-on-year to AED3.7bn while it increased its lending by 10% to AED104.7 bn. Investors demonstrated their confidence in the bank’s management and strategy by oversubscribing more than six times for its inaugural Sukuk, which raised an impressive US$650mn in July. We are proud to recognise First Gulf Bank as the 2011 winner of EMEA Finance’s Best Local Bank in the UAE in our annual Middle East Banking Awards.”

FGB continues to maintain its outstanding performance, where the bank’s rating was affirmed at A+ by Fitch in May 2011 with Stable Outlook and affirmed at A2 by Moody’s in August 2011 with upgrade of the outlook from Negative to Stable. First Gulf Bank also moved up to the 159th position from its previous rank at 180 on the Top 500 Banking Brands 2012 list, published by “The Banker” magazine. FGB’s banking brand value was estimated at USD 713 million. FGB’s market capitalization was valued at USD 6.3 billion.

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