KARACHI: Sindh Bank posted a net profit of Rs720.2 million in the first nine months of the current year, 14% higher than the earnings recorded over the comparable period of 2013.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, the bank’s spokesperson said the board of directors approved on Friday financial accounts for January-September in which the pre-tax profit increased to over Rs1 billion, up 20% from the same period of the preceding year.

The bank is non-listed and 100% owned by the government of Sindh.

Its deposits stood at Rs58.42 billion on September 30 after registering a growth rate of 27.7% on a year-on-year basis. Advances amounted to Rs37.58 billion, reflecting an increase of 41.5% over 2013. The bank also recorded 300% growth in the disbursement of agriculture loans in 2013-14 while surpassing the revised target set by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

The bank has maintained the quality of its assets with minimal infection in advances and investments predominantly in Pakistan Investment Bonds (PIBs) and treasury bills, according to its president and CEO Muhammad Bilal Sheikh.

It has opened 200 branches in less than three years. For the current year, the bank seems focused on consolidating its operations and has decided to open only 25 branches, including five Islamic banking branches.

Following the establishment of an Islamic banking division last December, Sindh Bank received the permission to set up five Islamic banking branches in 2014. It commenced Islamic banking business under the brand name of “Sa’adat” on June 26 by opening its first Islamic banking branch. Four more dedicated branches are going to be established in the last quarter, said the spokesman.

The bank will add 25 new branches in 2015 and a majority of these will be dedicated Islamic banking branches.

Sindh Bank had originally planned to sell between 10% and 20% of its shares to the general public through the stock exchange before April. But the decision to go public was delayed as the bank’s financial advisers suggested that holding off the IPO for one year would likely grab a far higher premium for the provincial government.

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