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Islamic finance awards 2014: Al Rajhi

Best Islamic bank in Saudi Arabia

The biggest Islamic bank in the world, with assets of SR273 billion, Al Rajhi is clearly still the heavyweight in Saudi Arabia.

Aside from size, it is performing well too. By the half-year result in 2013, the bank had made SR4.174 billion in net profit year to date, with an 8% year-on-year increase in total shareholder equity to SR37.4 billion and a 15% increase in total assets. Deposits are growing faster still, with customer balances standing at SR224 billion, up 17% year on year, when last disclosed. Return on equity is an excellent 23%, earnings per share are growing, and the bank has been sufficiently happy with performance and provisions to pay healthy dividends.

It has managed this through characteristic prudence, lending heavily but wisely, and avoiding extravagant new business in favour of continuing to do well what it has always done well.

That said, its more daring Al Rajhi Capital offshoot  is an important part of the overall business, active in asset management (it was managing over $6 billion of assets by September 30), brokerage, investment banking advisory and research.

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