EGYPT – Hussein Refaie, the Chairperson and Managing Director of the Suez Canal Bank has revealed a stellar financial performance for the year 2023 with the bank’s net profits soaring to EGP 2.3 billion (USD 74.31 million), marking an impressive 121% increase from EGP 1.04 billion (USD 45.23 million) in 2022.

The driving force behind this remarkable growth was a substantial 72% increase in net income from returns, reaching EGP 3.2 billion (103.4 million) in 2023, and a remarkable 123% surge in net income from fees and commissions, totaling EGP 661 million (USD 21.36 billion). The bank’s total revenues witnessed a robust 82% rise, reaching EGP 6.2 billion (USD 200.3 million).

Refaie attributed this success to a strategic approach, stating, “The growth in the loan portfolio was the result of diversifying the financing of various sectors, such as agriculture, contracting, financial services, real estate, and tourism, which led to the distribution of risks and the diversification of the bank’s clients.”

The Suez Canal Bank reported a 38% increase in total assets, reaching EGP 102.9 billion (USD 3.32 billion), with a 14% rise in loans and facilities.

The net portfolio of loans and customer facilities saw a 14% increase to EGP 33.8 billion (USD 1.09 billion), contributing to the overall growth. Refaie highlighted the expansion of the bank’s retail banking portfolio by 35%, reaching EGP 3.7 billion (USD 119.5 million) in 2023.

Additionally, the bank achieved a 12% growth in customer deposit balances, amounting to EGP 73.6 billion in 2023.

Refaie emphasized the bank’s successful increase in capital from EGP 2 billion to EGP 5 billion, a 150% surge through self-financing from the bank’s surplus annual profits over the past five years.

In recognition of the bank’s outstanding performance, it received 14 awards in 2023, including being included in the “Arab Fortune 500” list, the fastest growing bank in Africa on the Financial Times list, and the best bank on the Forbes list of the 50 most powerful companies listed on the Egyptian Exchange.

Refaie outlined the bank’s vision for further growth, stating, “The approval of the Board of Directors to invite the extraordinary general assembly to increase the authorized capital from EGP 5 billion to EGP 10 billion aligns with the bank’s strategy and growth targets.”

Meanwhile, in a contrasting scenario, Kenya, and Tanzania face economic challenges due to disruptions in vessel movement through the Suez Canal.

The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) notes that approximately 15% of Kenya’s foreign trade and 10% of Tanzania’s foreign trade, by volume, are channeled through the Suez Canal.

The attacks on vessels by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen have led to shipping lines avoiding the Suez Canal, resulting in a diversion of over USD 200 billion worth of cargo away from the key trade route connecting the Port of Mombasa and Dar es Salaam to the world.

The Central Bank of Kenya warns of a potential rise in the cost of living in the next three months, further burdening households already grappling with economic challenges.

As the Suez Canal Bank celebrates its remarkable achievements, the economic impact of disruptions in global trade routes continues to be felt across East African economies, underscoring the interconnectedness of the global trade landscape.

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