The bank’s net profit for the year ended December 31, 2018 rose to RO29.36mn from RO25.33mn net profit reported in the previous year, according to Sohar International’s financial report submitted to the Muscat Securities Market on Tuesday.
The board of directors of Sohar International has recommended a cash dividend of six per cent for 2018, which corresponds to 6bz per share.
The bank’s net interest income grew 18.7 per cent to RO56.65mn in 2018 compared to RO47.72mn reported for 2017. Operating income rose 23.6 per cent to RO94.43mn from RO76.41mn in the previous year.
Sohar International’s loan book grew 7.3 per cent in 2018 as net loans and advances amounted to RO2.25bn as of December 31, 2018 compared to RO2.1bn a year ago. The bank’s customer deposits increased 10.7 per cent to RO1.81bn as of December 31, 2018 from RO1.64bn a year ago.
‘We see greater demand for financing in corporate sector due to expected improvement in oil prices and the government’s commitment to continue focusing on infrastructure projects along with investments in sectors identified as key in the economic diversification plan’, Sohar International said in its chairman’s report.
Sohar International said it is well positioned to capitalise on these opportunities and play a key role in supporting the national economy. ‘This includes greater participation in public and private sector investments including syndications’.
The bank, which was formerly known as Bank Sohar, recently launched its new brand Sohar International and redefined its business model to go beyond the provision of financial services.
Sohar International said the ratio of its non-performing loans and advances to gross loans and advances increased from 2.32 per cent in December 2017 to 3.29 per cent in December 2018 due to deterioration of asset quality from a few major corporate customers. ‘The bank continues to focus on improving assets quality and to maintain this ratio below industry levels’, it added.