KARACHI - MCB Bank has posted profit before tax of Rs 6.24 billion and profit after tax of Rs 4.13b respectively with earning per share of Rs 5.98 during first quarter of current calendar year (January-March 2009). The profitability of the bank surged by 8pc during the period under review. From the period January 01 to March 31, MCB Bank saw an increase of Rs479m in its balance sheet while profit after tax registered an increase of 1pc over March 2008, amounting at Rs 4.13b. This translates into EPS of Rs 5.98 as compared to Rs. 5.95 in March 2008. The bank announced a cash dividend of Rs 2.5 per share for the quarter ended March 31, 2009. The Board of Directors of MCB Bank held its board meeting on Thursday to review the performance of the bank and presented the financial results for the quarter ended March 31 to the board and major shareholders. According to the results, MCB witnessed resilient operating performance in the first quarter of 2009 with healthy growth in balance sheet and key profitability indicators. Total assets of the bank swelled to Rs 456b with an increase of 3pc over Rs 444b as at December 2008 and increased by 15pc over Rs. 397b in March 2008. Deposits showed an increase of Rs. 8b over December 2008 and closed at Rs 338b i.e. a growth of 2pc over Dec 2008. Growth in deposits has been achieved in current and savings deposits which represent increase of 2pc and 7pc over December 2008 respectively. Gross advances are reported at Rs. 257b; highlighting a decline of 6pc over Dec 2008. This decrease is primarily because of the slowdown in the market activity. Meanwhile, NIB Bank has registered consolidated profit before tax of Rs 1.17b and a consolidated profit after tax of Rs 788m for the quarter ended March 31, 2009. For the same period last year, NIB had declared a consolidated profit before tax of Rs 130m and a consolidated profit after tax of Rs 49m. On a standalone basis, profit before tax for the first quarter of 2009 was Rs 751m and profit after tax was Rs 400m. The consolidated results include Rs 364m as a share of profits from associated companies, driven by the recovery of equity prices during the quarter. Mark-up earned by NIB in Q1 2009 at Rs4.7b was Rs1.3b higher than for Q1 2008 while growth in mark-up expense was restricted to Rs0.9b. Consequently, net mark-up income grew by Rs 400m (40%) over Q1 2008. In Q1 2009, fee income increased by 9pc and trading gains on fixed income securities more than doubled, compared to Q1 2008. These helped to offset an expected reduction in other non-mark-up income such as dividends from subsidiaries. Growth in administrative expenses in Q1 2009 was contained to 8% over Q1 2008 despite the very high inflation levels during the period. The Q1 2009 results include a net reversal of provisions of Rs 235m achieved as a result of the banks strategy of aggressively pursuing defaulting customers. Over the past six months, NIB has placed strong focus and follow up in this area as a result of which the Bank expects to continue a strong recovery performance for the rest of the year and beyond. The profit for Q1 2009 includes a quarterly impairment charge of Rs 236m in compliance with the SBPs Circular No 4 of 2009 which requires banks to record mark to market losses on equity securities held as available for sale and charge this amount to the profit & loss on a quarterly basis during 2009. This charge was fully offset by a benefit of Rs 289m taken on account of Forced Sale Value of collateral, in line with the SBPs BSD Circular No 2 of 2009. Meanwhile, the earnings of Habib Bank Limited are expected to increase to Rs 4.2b with earning per share of Rs 4.6 for the first quarter of 2009. This would be a growth of 7.4pc over 1Q2008 profit of Rs3.9b (EPS Rs4.3). No payout is anticipated with these results. It is important to mention here that the management HBL is set to announce its financial its first quarterly results on April 24 (today).