Business


Fitch reaffirms Bank Sohar’s rating at BBB+


Dr Mohamed Abdulaziz Kalmoor

Muscat: Fitch Ratings, a global leader in credit ratings and research, has reaffirmed Bank Sohar's long-term rating at BBB+ with a stable outlook. In its recent report, Fitch pointed out Bank Sohar's relatively conservative risk appetite which translated into sound asset quality.

In fact, Bank Sohar has been consistently achieving one of the strongest non-performing loan (NPL) ratios in the banking industry within the Sultanate at just 1.07 per cent as at end of first quarter of 2014, says a press release.

Commenting on achieving the BBB+ rating from Fitch Rating, Dr Mohamed Abdulaziz Kalmoor, chief executive officer of Bank Sohar said, "Fitch reviews key quantitative and qualitative factors to arrive at a bank's credit rating, with the final rating determinations made by committees comprising lead analysts and seasoned independent committee members, including Fitch Ratings senior management. This rating is therefore an affirmation of our continued good asset quality and highlights the bank's commitment to achieve excellence in all aspects of its operations."

In its article, Fitch made a special mention of Bank Sohar's well-managed funding profile which primarily consists of funding by customer deposits which are stable and growing in line with business requirements. The report also brings to light Bank Sohar's comfortable liquidity position.

Earnings growth
The rating agency also noticed Bank Sohar's solid growth in earnings and profitability where net profit registered a growth of 16.8 per cent from OMR26.87 million in 2013 as compared to a net profit of OMR23.01 million in 2012, and a growth of 30.85 per cent when comparing the net profit of OMR7.96 million in first quarter of 2014 to OMR6.08 million in first quarter of 2013.  These results have been driven by increases in both — net interest and fee income. In fact, Bank Sohar was the most profitable bank in Oman in 2012 and 2013. Bank Sohar prides itself in providing technology-enabled solutions for the banking needs of its clients. It also keeps adding new products and services, in line with the needs and aspirations of its customer base.

Al Mumayaz auto loan
A case in point is the recent launch of the Bank's Al Mumayaz auto loan from which provide industry-leading turn-around times and practical conditions that make it easy to avail of auto financing from the bank.

"The year 2013 was another prosperous year for the bank, having made consistent progress right across every facet of its business. Furthermore, in just the first quarter of 2014, we have already experienced an improvement in several revenue categories, including net interest income and fee income from our retail, corporate and investment businesses. In fact, in just the last six months, the bank has won nine awards, ranging from the 'Fastest Growing Bank in Oman 2014' by the UK-based 'International Finance Magazine' (IFM) all the way to 'The Diamond Eye Award for Quality, Commitment & Excellence' award from the French based Otherways Management & Consulting Association. Thanks to our solid foundation in 2013 and the strong first quarter, we expected 2014 to be yet another year of successful operations in the Sultanate for Bank Sohar," concluded Dr Mohamed Abdulaziz Kalmoor.

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