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Positive start for First Energy Bank

MANAMA: First Energy Bank (FEB) has had a positive start to the year, shareholders heard at the annual general meeting.

It was held at the Banyan Tree yesterday.

The world's first Islamic investment bank focused exclusively on the energy sector saw operating profit for the first six months of the year at $9.03 million, though one-time establishment costs saw the bank enter modest net profits, in line with expectations for its inaugural year.

FEB also saw a rise in its asset base, which now exceeds $1 billion.

"In light of the downturn in global markets, fall in asset values and drop in oil price during the period, we are pleased that our equity remains intact and we are poised to benefit from the opportunities 2009 will present in the energy sector," said FEB chairman Esam Janahi.

"There remains a chronic shortage of investment capital in the energy sector and energy prices are rising ahead of the recovery for this very reason.

"We expect this rise to bring renewed investment and FEB has a good pipeline of potential deals under consideration spanning the upstream, downstream, oilfield service and utilities sectors."

"Our priority for our inaugural year has been to establish solid foundations for the bank," chief executive officer Vahan Zanoyan told shareholders.

"Now that our operations are fully independent and verified by our auditors and the Central Bank of Bahrain, we are set to start implementing a rich pipeline of deals that our specialist investments team has been developing.

"At FEB we believe there is a critical deficit of specialist energy expertise in the investment banking market," he added.

"We have, therefore, been compiling an investment and advisory team with unique insights into the opportunities for private equity in the energy sector. Our investors and clients are therefore well-placed to benefit from the increasing transaction flow expected for 2009." Mr Janahi also appointed the bank's Sharia supervisory board and financial auditors for the remainder of this year, and read the auditors reports for last year, which were approved by the board.



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