NBK Capital ups First Gulf Bank to 'buy'
Kuwait, June 8, 2012
NBK Capital upgraded First Gulf Bank to "buy" from "accumulate" and said it expects the lender to record a 6 percent growth in net profit this year.
First Gulf Bank, Abu Dhabi's second-largest bank by market capitalization, could likely grow its loan book by 8 percent, supporting a 6 percent growth in net interest income in 2012, the brokerage wrote in a note to clients.
In April, FGB posted a 7-percent rise in first-quarter net profit, and booked provisions of 412.7 million dirhams, 10 percent lower than the year-ago period.
NBK Capital maintained its "buy" recommendation on Abu Dhabi's Union National Bank and an "accumulate" on National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, the regions top three lenders by market value.
It said the UAE banking sector, which recorded a 0.3 percent loan growth year-to-date, continues to see muted growth and asset quality concerns.-Reuters