The FIMBank Group recently announced its financial results for the year ended 31 December 2009. These results, as well as the Group’s outlook for 2010, were the subject of a presentation delivered by FIMBank President Margrith Lütschg-Emmenegger during a meeting for stockbrokers and members of the media which was held on Monday 22nd March 2010 at the Hilton Malta.
Mrs Lütschg-Emmenegger explained how the FIMBank Group ended 2009 with a post-tax profit of USD1.6 million, a stronger and bigger balance-sheet and very healthy capital and liquidity ratios. This performance was made on the strength of profit results generated by the main entities in the FIMBank Group, namely FIMBank and London Forfaiting Company Limited. Although both companies operated through challenging market conditions which continued to impact on their trading books, operating income was maintained at respectable levels. At the peak of the crisis, the Group successfully tested the capital market and raised the equivalent of USD40 million of 7% Subordinated 2012-2019 Bonds – the issue was over-subscribed shortly after opening. The Group also strengthened its funding, increased the client base and business relationships and continued to make progress with the international factoring strategy. In the midst of difficult market conditions new joint-ventures were set up in Russia and India, in both cases with strong local and international banking partners and supranational organizations. In Dubai, Egypt and Lebanon, where the Group is involved in other factoring joint-ventures, market share was strengthened despite challenging business conditions.
Commenting on the Group’s financial position, Ms Lütschg-Emmenegger stated that the healthy liquidity and capital position, and good asset quality, were not accidental but a result a successful diversification policy across products and markets, strong risk management practices and a clear focus on international trade finance. “The FIMBank Group is excellently positioned to benefit from the opportunities emerging as economies around the world recover, which process also improves and speeds up international trade flows” she stated. The Group also has the advantage that it operates from the well-regulated environment of Malta, which continued to characterise the Maltese banking system as one of the soundest in the world. Throughout all this FIMBank also maintained its current Fitch rating and the outlook at ‘Stable’.
In her outlook for 2010, the FIMBank President confirmed the Group’s continued focus on international trade finance: “Forfaiting, Factoring and Structured Trade Finance will continue to be the three pillars on which we will build and diversify our range of trade finance solutions to customers for whom access to traditional banking finance is limited”.
In describing factoring as “the fastest-growing product in Trade Finance”, Mrs Lütschg-Emmenegger gave an update of the latest developments for the Group’s international factoring joint-venture strategy. “During 2009, in partnership with major international financial players, we set up FactorRus in Moscow and India Factoring in Mumbai. In 2010 we plan to set up factoring joint ventures with local partners in Brazil, Romania and Kenya.”
“FIMBank was one of the few banks world-wide to maintain its ratings in 2009-2010” - FIMBank President Margrith Lutschg-Emmenegger