Abu Dhabi lender Union National Bank announced its second-quarter financials. On the face of it things look positive with an increase in net profit of 7.2 per cent relative to the same period last year and that net income from interest and Islamic financing, the core business of a bank, rose 2.6 per cent. However, a quick peek at the underlying fundamentals shows that core revenue from interest and Islamic financing grew 6.4 per cent whilst expenses for interest and Islamic financing grew 13.4 per cent. Core expenses growing faster than core revenue is unsustainable. When you factor in that operating expenses grew by a whopping 21.1 per cent the picture looks less than sterling. The main driver for the increase in net profit is retail fees and recoveries which grew 43.7 per cent, an unsustainable growth rate for this profit line item.
Stay tuned as I take a deep dive into reported second-quarter earnings next week and uncover whether the net profit reported is quality or whether the underlying fundamentals are deteriorating.
Sabah al-Binali is an active investor and entrepreneurial leader with a track record of growing companies in the Mena region. You can read more on his Twitter feed or for deeper analysis on LinkedIn and al-binali.com.