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Fitch Ratings Affirms GIB Ratings at 'BBB+' with Stable Outlook

Gulf International Bank (GIB) announced that Fitch Ratings, the international credit rating agency, has affirmed the Bank’s Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'BBB+' with a Stable outlook. Fitch has also affirmed GIB’s Viability Rating (VR) at 'bbb-'.

 

Fitch maintained GIB’s ratings despite a change in Bahrain's sovereign rating to 'BB-' from 'BB+' and the revision of Bahrain's Country Ceiling to 'BBB-' from 'BBB+'. This is a result of Fitch's confidence in GIB’s strong shareholding structure and that of the Bank's longstanding majority shareholder, the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (A+/Stable; 97.2% stake). According to Fitch, this is the main reason GIB's Long-Term IDR is in line with that of the smaller banks domiciled in Saudi Arabia.

 

Fitch’s report further highlighted that GIB's VR reflects its competent management, stable asset quality, adequate capitalisation and high liquidity. The report also noted that GIB's VR could be upgraded if the Bank reduces its concentrations, improves profitability and diversifies its earnings, which are all areas of current focus for the Bank. Fitch stated that good execution of the Bank's expansion strategy, especially in retail banking, leading to a more diversified financing and deposit base, could also provide upside to the VR. However, any upgrade would also require an upgrade of the Saudi Arabia sovereign rating.

 

Mr. Abdulaziz A. Al-Helaissi, Group Chief Executive Officer of GIB, said: “The affirmation of our ratings continues to underscore the sound financial position and health of GIB. We are also pleased with Fitch’s acknowledgement of the strength of our team, sound asset quality and strong levels of liquidity, which we expect to enhance even more significantly through the implementation of our strategy. We are moving swiftly forward with plans for expansion both in terms of business mix and our geographic presence and we expect this not only to have a positive impact on our growth and profitability over time but also on our ratings in the future.”

 

GIB aims to be the preferred financial services partner, delivering bespoke banking solutions to a wide customer base in the region and beyond. This includes corporate banking, asset management, debt and equity capital market services, financial advisory services, mergers and acquisitions, and the world’s first Shariah compliant digital retail banking service, meem by Gulf International Bank.