On behalf of ADCB’s Board of Directors, I am pleased to report that, despite a challenging business environment, 2015 was another record year for the Bank. Net profits of AED 4.927 bn were up 17% over 2014. At 20.3%, ADCB’s return on average equity for 2015 was amongst the highest of our peers.
Whilst we face a number of heightened economic challenges in 2016, we believe that the Bank’s well-defined strategy, commitment to excellent service, and strong, well-established governance standards will continue to serve shareholders well.
Dividend and Financial Performance
As a result of ADCB’s record performance in 2015, the Board has recommended a cash dividend of 45 fils per share, translating to a payout of AED 2.3 bn (excluding Treasury shares), equivalent to 47% of net profit. This is subject to approval by the shareholders at the Annual General Meeting.
In 2015, we continued the positive trend of increased earnings and dividend payouts, which has now prevailed for the past five years. ADCB has achieved compounded annual growth in operating income of 6% and compounded annual growth in dividends of 18% over the past five years.
Building on a Proven Strategy
Our core strategy has served us well throughout the past five years and should continue to do so. The strategy includes growth through a UAE-centric approach, a stable and conservative liability base, a culture of service excellence and efficiency, diligent risk management and highly talented staff.
We are building upon this strategy and aiming to strengthen ADCB’s financial performance by developing a more granular balance sheet. We have continued to aspire to prudent growth, ensuring that our lending guidelines remain appropriate in the current economic environment, and we have continued to improve our credit quality.
We continue to place greater emphasis on cross-selling opportunities with existing customers. Our strong customer service practices further improved in 2015, and we have made the investments necessary to continue to advance our leading franchise.
Book Value per Share (AED)
Throughout 2015, the Board was active and engaged, conducting 51 full Board or Committee meetings. The Board also engaged regularly with management outside of full Board or Committee meetings.
In October, the Board reviewed and confirmed the Bank’s strategy. The Board also continued to emphasise the need for prudent risk management and took steps to ensure that remuneration structures are in line with global best practices.
The Bank’s aim to excel in corporate governance continued. Our governance philosophy was explored in an in-depth story in the Hawkamah Journal in 2015. We are pleased that the Bank now meets or exceeds nearly all of the Basel Committee’s Guidelines on corporate governance.
Whilst lower oil prices will pose a challenge, the UAE’s economy remains robust and diversified. There have been a number of positive recent fiscal developments providing support to the economy, such as the removal of subsidies. Numerous sectors in the UAE economy have a positive economic outlook entering 2016, including airlines, tourism, logistics, hospitality, trade and transportation.
Whilst 2016 is expected to be a more challenging year for financial services globally, the Bank will continue to monitor conditions closely and will take actions as necessary. The Bank remains committed to the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 and to the long-term economic development of Abu Dhabi and the UAE.
Extending Our Appreciation
On behalf of the Board and all at ADCB, I extend our most sincere appreciation and gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE President and Ruler of Abu Dhabi; to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces; to His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs; and to the UAE Central Bank for its continued support of ADCB and the future development of the UAE economy.
I also extend the continued gratitude and appreciation of the Board to our shareholders, our valued customers, and the ADCB executive management team and employees for their continued dedication and commitment.
Eissa Mohamed Al Suwaidi