MENAF - 30/3/2006
Shareholders and the board of directors of Bahrain National Holding (BNH) yesterday approved the distribution of cash dividends at a rate 17 per cent of BNH's paid-up capital, an amount of BD1.62 million for last year.
The annual general assembly yesterday at company headquarters was attended by top management and major shareholding of the company.
The meeting also approved the transfer of BD349,000 to statutory reserves and BD 1.1 million to general reserves. The assembly was chaired by BNH chairman Qassim Mohamed Fakhroo who said last year was one of the best experienced by the company although the insurance industry has witnessed an increased rate of competition at local and regional levels. BNH net profits increased by 11 per cent, amounting to BD 3.49 million against 2004.
Total underwriting profits increased by 22 per cent to BD2.62 million against BD2.15 for 2004, due to the rise in insurance premiums, on the one hand, and prudent management of policies and claims, on the other. Total gross premiums of BNH inched upwards marginally by 4 per cent to BD23.67 million compared to 2004.
On the other hand, shareholders' equity grew by 35 per cent to BD34.67 million while earnings per share rose to 35.54 fils from 33.47 fils in 2004.
Fakhroo said the total gross premium for Bahrain National Insurance for the previous year amounted to BD21.8 million, a minimal increase of 3 per cent over 2004, due to the slump in insurance rates locally and internationally while total gross premium for Bahrain National Life (BNL) grew by 15 per cent to BD1.83 million compared to the previous year.
The chairman was optimistic about BNL's capability to achieve more positive results in the years to come in light of the company's strategic plan.
Mahmood Al Soufi, BNH chief executive, said last year's results reflected the company's keen interest to provide investors and shareholders with better returns through good management of capital employed and offering superior insurance schemes and products that meet the requirements and needs of customers in Bahrain.
He pointed out that last year, BNH increased its capital via a rights-shares offer to existing shareholders which was able to inject BD6 million, mainly be invested in projects that have been recently approved by the board and GCC countries. He added that one of these investment ventures was the incorporation of National Finance House, a specialised finance company providing its services and products during the first half of the year and will primarily provide motor and real-estate finance to individuals, expanding its business activities in future.