Emirates NBD, the UAE\'s largest bank by assets, on Wednesday reported a net profit of Dh2.48 billion for 2011, up 6 per cent compared with Dh2.33 billion reported in 2010. While the net interest income for 2011 was up 7 per cent, core fee income grew 7 per cent compared with the previous year. The year witnessed significant pro-active and precautionary de-risking of the balance sheet, the bank said in a statement to Dubai Financial Market today. “We have taken a more conservative approach to strengthen the bank\'s position to meet the challenges reflected in the broader global financial markets and Emirates NBD is on course to realise its vision to be the leading and one of the largest and most successful banks in the region,” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Emirates NBD. The bank reported a 62 per cent decline in fourth-quarter profit as it boosted provisions for bad loans. Net income declined Dh152 million from Dh403 million a year earlier. In fourth quarter provision rose to Dh1.06 billion Dh201 million in the same quarter in 2010. The impairment charge for 2011 increased to Dh4.97 billion compared with Dh3.19 billion for year ended 31 December 2010. This was primarily driven by additional conservatism applied to the bank\'s recognition of impaired loans and the levels of provisions made in respect of those. This resulted in specific impairment charges on the bank\'s credit portfolios of Dh3.18 billion as well as the addition of Dh1.56 billion to portfolio impairment allowances during the period, taking total portfolio impairment allowances to Dh 3.75 billion or 2.54 per cent of unclassified credit risk weighted assets. “During 2011 we have delivered a robust set of financial results, despite an extremely challenging and volatile external environment and after adopting a significantly more conservative approach to de-risking the balance sheet,” said Emirates NBD\'s Chief Executive Officer, Rick Pudner.