Echoing a range of strategic milestones accomplished throughout 2018, Sohar International has reported strong growth in review of its annual financial report, noting 15.9% growth in Net Profit, achieving OMR 29.366mn by the close of business on 31st December 2018, a rise from OMR 25.331mn in 2017. The bank’s Board of Directors recommended a cash dividend of 6% for the year, corresponding to 6 baisas per share.
Furthermore, net interest income during the year increased by 18.7% to OMR 56.651 million compared to OMR 47.721 million in 2017. Operating income for the year increased to OMR 94.438 million, an increase of 23.6% as compared to OMR 76.416 million in 2017. The operating profit also rose by 31.1% to OMR 54.55mn from OMR 41.62mn in the previous year. Net loans and advances amounted to OMR 2.25bn as of 31st December 2018, an increase of 7.3% compared to 2017. Customer deposits further increased to OMR 1.81bn in 2018, a rise of 10.7% from OMR 1.64bn in 2017. The Bank’s share of Private Sector Credit increased to 10.3% as at November 2018 from 10.1% in December 2017, while its share of Private Sector Deposit was 7.98% in November 2018 compared to 8.45% as at December 2017.
Commenting on the bank’s performance, Mr Mohammed Mahfoudh Al Ardhi, Chairman of Sohar International, said, “I am very pleased and honoured to announce that despite the challenges and the changes we witnessed during 2018, we successfully implemented our planned transformation and concluded the year with remarkable financial achievements. Last fiscal year was pivotal in the history of Sohar International, as we embarked on a new journey with a fresh vision to enable new avenues to continue growing as a world-leading Omani service company whilst delivering a robust contribution to the national economy.”
Successfully navigating business challenges throughout 2018 and retaining market confidence, the impressive financial performance of the organization is a testament to its strong capabilities to continue capitalizing on market opportunities and deliver on its promise to offer responsive banking services to the customer’s ever changing world.
Mr Ahmed Al Musalmi, Chief Executive Officer of Sohar International, said, “We remain highly committed to moving forward with plans that will raise the bar on customer centricity and excellence in accordance with our ambitious 5-year strategic agenda. The business continues to grow with laser sharp focus on our objectives aligned with Oman’s socioeconomic development plan. Our globalising culture precipitates that our workforce will be sharp, human, and unstoppable in everything that we do, guided by principles that truly convey more velocity, more vision, and more value to all stakeholders. On behalf of the executive management team, I express my most sincere thanks and appreciation to our board for their continued support, our shareholders for their trust, our customers for their loyalty, our employees for their unparalleled dedication and to the regulators and authorities for their continued guidance and support.”
The bank’s fiscal achievements build on its well-established strong market position that has earned it the accolade of the fastest growing bank in the Sultanate, as well as on many strategic changes that were introduced in 2018 to address short term priorities and lay the foundation for bigger transformational changes in 2019 and beyond.
Following a rebrand as ‘Sohar International’, the bank revealed a comprehensive strategy to achieve global heights resting on the par of customer service excellence across all operations. As part of the strategy, Sohar International has formulated a resolute purpose of helping customers win and achieve their aspirations by delivering responsive banking solutions that are at par with a dynamic world.
With a focused approach to accelerate performance and enhance overall efficiency, the bank delivered well on its priorities related to thought leadership, innovation and technology, the development of human capital, along with its diverse Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs.
The bank has established itself as a promotor of positive change in the industry through various initiatives, most notably its Chairman’s Forum ‘Viewpoint’ which provides a unique opportunity to engage and deliberate on international industry acumens with world renowned leaders in the fields if economy, management, innovation and entrepreneurship. The bank also participated in supporting various forums on key issues and global trends such as Blockchain and cyber security.
Innovation and efficiency saw a major push during 2018, with many of the retail and corporate products and services streamlined to offer customers faster delivery and higher value. The digital platforms were enhanced with better security protocols and a wider choice of services to meet the customers’ modern lifestyle. Strategic partnerships were further formed to offer customer a one-stop station for all their requirements, including general and life insurance products.
Sohar International recognizes that its workforce is key in driving its financial performance and delivering on its new strategy going forward. The organization continued to attract local talents and reinforce its position as an employer of choice. A testament to its endeavours in this regard, a percentage of over 93% Omanization was achieved during 2018, with the majority of high and mid management posts efficiently led by Omanis. To retain and maintain its workforce competitive edge, the bank delivered an extensive array of in-house and external training opportunities, making sure to prepare the next line of leaders for the next stage of transformation for the bank.
Furthermore, Sohar International continues to stand tall at its commitment to empower Omani youth in line with the national agenda. The initiatives included a one-year internship program ‘Tomohi’ that has been crafted to provide practical knowledge of the banking sector to Omani college and university graduates which reinforces their employability within the Omani banking sector.
Sohar International has held strong to its philanthropic ethos in 2018 towards a broad range of altruistic organisations as well as events under its robust CSR portfolio. This support through direct donations, sponsorships and miscellaneous contributions has significantly enriched the lives of the differently-abled, impoverished and the disadvantaged across the nation.
The Bank continues to adhere to the best practices of corporate governance and to ensure adequate disclosure and accountability proving 2018 a successful and transformational year for the organisation. Sohar International reinforced its commitment to delivering an enhanced performance on the fundamentals in response to on-going pressures arising from Oman’s economic downturn, as well as increased market dynamism.