The Middle East unit of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the world's biggest lending bank, enjoyed surging profits and asset growth in 2012, it said on Saturday, underscoring increasingly close economic ties between Beijing and the Gulf.
The bank's Middle East unit, based in Dubai, said pre-tax profit surged 69 percent in 2012 from 2011 to $54 million, while operating income jumped 47 percent to $72 million.
Total assets at end of 2012 were $3.96 billion, a rise of 29 percent over the same figure at the end of 2011, it said in an emailed statement.
Annual trade between China and the UAE grew fifteen-fold to $37 billion from 2000 to 2011, Hong Kong Monetary Authority chief executive Norman Chan told China's official Xinhua news agency last month.
Most of that trade is conducted in dollars, but a growing proportion is also starting to be carried out in yuan. Earlier this month, Dubai's largest bank, Emirates NBD, said it had started offering yuan accounts.
The Middle East unit has branches in Abu Dhabi and Doha.
Commenting on the bank’s performance, Tian Zhiping, regional CEO of the Middle East, said: “2012 was another year of strong growth for us as we continued to benefit from our regional franchise and unique position as a bridge for trade and investment between the Middle East and China. We have taken part in important syndications and witnessed growing volumes of RMB transactions, all of which added to our business growth. We are also providing project financing to the increasing number of Chinese businesses operating in the Middle East.”
ICBC's lending is focused on large infrastructure projects, energy, transportation, technology and telecommunications - all of which are at the core of the Middle East's economic development. - Reuters and Trade Arabia News Service