Dubai Islamic Bank, DIB, the oldest Islamic bank in the region, on Sunday reported an 11 per cent surge in net profit to Dh245 million for the first quarter of 2012 from Dh222 million in the same 2011 period. The bank said the result demonstrated its “sustained growth across core operations.” DIB’s total revenue during the first quarter was Dh1.23 billion compared to Dh1.28 billion in the first quarter of 2011 while the bank’s assets stood at Dh92.5 billion as customer deposits reached Dh68.1 billion, an increase of five per cent compared with Dh 64.7 billion as of December 31, 2011. Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shaibani, chairman of the bank, said DIB’s strong start to the year was testament to its “proven business model, robust liquidity position and stable funding base.” The recent repayment in full of a $750 million five-year sukuk further underlines the bank’s financial strength, he added. The bank said in a statement that its core business continued to grow in the first quarter of 2012, with income from financing and investing assets and investment sukuks increasing by two per cent. “DIB has begun 2012 where it left off in 2011 by reporting strong and sustained growth across its core operations,” said Abdulla Al Hamli, chief executive officer of DIB. “Our continued investment in both bricks and mortar and alternative distribution channels has served to further reinforce DIB’s status as the UAE’s leading Islamic bank.” The bank maintained a financing-to-deposit ratio of 77 per cent as of March 31, 2012. The bank also reported a Basel II capital adequacy ratio of 18.2 per cent as of March 31, 2012. “DIB continued to strengthen its balance sheet with additional provisions of Dh 299 million during the first quarter of 2012,” said the statement. DIB opened three new branches during the first quarter of 2012. The branches in the Gold Souk in Deira, Al Baraha area and Al Barsha Mall, bring the bank’s UAE-wide network to a total of 74 branches. The quarter also saw the launch of Al Islami Business Online, a portal enabling companies to access over 75 services at the click of a button. DIB’s growth underscores the new found vibrancy in Islamic finance vis a vis the conventional banking industry in the backdrop of the global financial meltdown, analysts said. Banking assets in the UAE are predicted to grow to 20 per cent of the total banking sector in 2012 from an estimated 18 per cent this year, according to Standard Chartered Saadiq, the Islamic arm of the bank. The bank said it expects Islamic assets to constitute 38 per cent of total consumer banking assets in the UAE in 2012, compared to about 35 per cent in 2010. It didn’t provide a 2011 estimate. According to the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the collective assets of the eight Islamic banks in the UAE were Dh269 billion at the end of 2010, accounting for around 16.2 per cent of the overall banking assets of Dh1.66 trillion. Globally, the Islamic banking industry is estimated to be worth $1 trillion, the bank said as it unveiled its new customer offerings for UAE customers, in response to growing interest in and customer demand for Islamic finance in the country and across the region. Ernst & Young said in a report that Islamic banking assets with commercial banks globally would reach $1.1 trillion in 2012, a jump of 33 per cent from the 2010 level of $826 billion. In the Middle East and North Africa, Islamic banking assets increased to $416 billion in 2010, representing a five year compound annual growth rate of 20 per cent compared to less than nine per cent for conventional banks, Ernst & Young said in a report.