“We are now looking at a period of growth, with trade finance activity gradually reverting to pre-crisis levels” - FIMBank President Margrith Lütschg-Emmenegger
Following a challenging 2009, the FIMBank Group registered a significant increase in its after tax-profit to reach USD6.74 million for 2010, while the Group’s Balance Sheet also saw considerable growth, with Total Consolidated Assets as at 31 December 2010 standing at USD861 million, an increase of 24% over end-2009 figures. These encouraging figures emerge from the FIMBank Group’s financial results for 2010, which were announced recently.
Commenting on these results, FIMBank President Margrith Lutschg-Emmenegger stated that “…the improved profitability and growth in the Group’s Balance Sheet are in line with the gradual normalisation and return of confidence within international markets and hence the improvement in the Group’s activity. Despite challenging market conditions, we have also managed to retain our Fitch rating, thus validating the solid risk management we implement, as well as the strong, trade-financed business model which we have been adopting successfully over the years”. Among the highlights for the Group during 2010 were FIMBank’s issue of a €33 million offer of 2013 4.25% Bonds, which were oversubscribed within hours of opening, as well as the official launch of the factoring joint venture in India, India Factoring, the Group’s acquisition of a larger stake in Lebanon’s Levant Factors and the conclusion of negotiations to set up a factoring joint venture in Brazil.
During the year in review, the FIMBank Group’s Operating Income after Net Impairment allowances increased by 23% over the same period in 2009, from USD26.11 million to USD32.24 million. Group Operating Costs were reported at USD25.02 million, only marginally above the levels for the same period in 2009. This underlines the good process and continued efforts aimed at improving the Group’s efficiency and cost-management. Group Equity as at 31 December 2010 stood at USD121 million, up by 5% when compared to the equity levels reported at 31 December 2009, reflecting the profit performance for the year as well as the equity retention resulting from the scrip dividend approved in May. The Group’s Basic Earnings per Share stood at US cents 4.97 (2009 – US cents 1.16).The Directors will be recommending to the Annual General Meeting of shareholders the payment of a scrip dividend amounting to USD3,371,955 (2009: USD1,565,048), representing a net dividend per ordinary share of US cents 2.480242 (2009: US cents 1.155640).
Ms Lütschg-Emmenegger confirmed that FIMBank is now looking at a period of growth, with trade finance activity gradually reverting to pre-crisis levels: “We will continue to pursue new geographic and product markets and to strengthen our presence in important trading centres, while keeping an eye on developments in the Middle East and North Africa. Diversification and strengthening of funding will remain a priority area for the Group, especially for the Bank, and will continue to be an important driver of business and of revenue and profit growth”.