The Annual General Meeting of FIMBank p.l.c. was held at the Hilton Malta, St. Julian’s on 12th April 2007. The strong turnout of shareholders considered and approved all resolutions presented by the Board of Directors, including the annual report and financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2006 as well as the new Board of Directors.
In addressing the members, Mr. Najeeb Al Saleh, Chairman of the Board of Directors of FIMBank Group stressed on the fact that FIMBank’s shareholders provide the financial backing and the trust that constitute the basis for the Group’s development and growth prospects. The Chairman was pleased to report a record financial result for the FIMBank Group for the year ended 31st December 2006. The Group posted a profit after tax of USD 7.6 million in 2006 compared to USD 2.7 million in 2005. This represents Earnings per Share of 8.83 US cents in 2006 compared to 3.34 US cents in 2005. The Chairman commended the overall operating performance and business activity of the Group, which grew to new levels and strengths.
Encouraged by the strong profit performance of 2006 and the overwhelming support to last year’s scrip debut, the Board of Directors again made a scrip dividend recommendation to the Annual General Meeting of a net 3.5244 US cents per ordinary share, which the members approved.
Global Trade Finance Limited, FIMBank’s associate in India, contributed USD2.55 million to the Group result – almost three times its contribution in 2005. In 2006, the wholly-owned subsidiary London Forfaiting Company Limited (LFC) further expanded its portfolio, strengthened its profitability and consolidated its position as an important component of the FIMBank Group
As the international syndicated loan came up for its first renewal in June, FIMBank’s second appearance in this market was another big success. The banking consortium doubled its participation compared to the previous year, which was a manifestation of the confidence that the international banking community has vested in FIMBank and Malta.
The Bank’s long-standing letter of credit business remained strong both in the traditional markets and as a result of new relationships, including new markets that were targeted in West Africa which also provided a diversified funding stream for the Group. Another core specialty of the FIMBank Group, ship pre-demolition finance, continued to show strong growth in 2006.
The year under review also saw the launching of Egypt Factors, the factoring joint-venture with Commercial International Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC); Egypt Factors commenced business operations late in the year, and 2007 marks its first year of activity.
Late in the year FIMBank received authorization to open its office in the Dubai International Financial Centre. The MENAFACTORS joint-venture company with National Bank of Dubai is also in the process of receiving final authorisation from Dubai Financial Services Authority. Interests in other factoring projects continue to be pursued in South America and the Mediterranean region. These ventures strengthen the Group’s global presence, widen the activity range and provide opportunities to further diversify the product and risk base. 2006 was also the first year of activity for FIM Business Solutions Limited, FIMBank’s IT services company, which taps on the Group’s considerable IT expertise and offers it as a service to the Group joint-ventures and third party financial institutions.
The Chairman emphasised to the Meeting the importance that if the Group were to increase its business and proceed to new phases of growth there was need to enlarge the equity base through new strategic investment. In this regard he reported that interest had been identified from a number of institutions and positive developments in this regard should be seen during 2007. Referring to the announcement of early March that the Board of Directors had accepted the terms of an offer by Burgan Bank, Kuwait, to acquire a substantial shareholding in FIMBank at USD1.70 per share, Mr Al Saleh commented that further news was now awaited from Burgan Bank. He stressed with the shareholders that the Board would always be guided by the best interests of the Group and all its stakeholders in how the offer may progress. In the meantime, discussions with other institutional investors about their potential interest in FIMBank were continuing and in the second half of 2007 FIMBank would also proceed to increase its capital by means of a rights issue.
The Chairman thanked the Management and Staff for their commitment and dedication and concluded the AGM by thanking FIMBank’s customers for their trust, the distinguished guests and the members of the Board for their guidance and advice. Special thanks were given to Mr. Mehdi Ouazzani who retired as Director and did not offer himself for re-appointment. Mr. Ouazzani is a founding shareholder and Director of FIMBank, having served uninterruptedly on the Board since 1994. He is to be replaced by Mr. Pierre-Olivier Fragnière, subject to regulatory approval.
The Annual General Meeting then proceeded to consider and approve all the business presented to it, which included resolutions requesting: Consent of the shareholders for the disclosure of unpublished price-sensitive information; Authority to the Directors to Issue Equity Securities, and to Restrict or Withdraw Statutory Pre-Emption Rights; Authority to the Company to acquire its Own Shares, and Changes to the Executive Share Option Scheme Rules (2006 – 2009): new Executive Share Option Scheme Rules applicable for the years 2007 – 2009.
For more information on the FIMBank Group, please refer to our website www.fimbank.com.