Corporate earnings in the energy-rich Gulf states rose 10 percent last year, for the first time surpassing their highest level before the global financial crisis, a report said on Tuesday.
Net profits of the 658 listed companies on the seven bourses of the Gulf Cooperation Council states reached $68 billion in 2014 compared with $61.7 billion the previous year, investment firm Kuwait Financial Centre (Markaz) said in a report.
It was the first time Gulf corporate earnings had surpassed $63.2 billion, which was recorded in 2007 a year before the financial crisis hit.
The net profits of GCC companies rose by 6.0 percent in the second half of last year compared with the same period in 2013, Markaz said.
The growth came despite GCC stock markets being battered in the second half of 2014 because of the sharp fall in oil prices.
The six-nation GCC consists of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.
Markaz projected that GCC companies' earnings will rise by 5.5 percent to $71.2 billion in 2015.
Banks, financial services and real estate sectors accounted for most of the increase in profits which were dragged down by a 10 percent decline in the telecommunications sector's earnings, Markaz said.
The UAE led with the highest growth in corporate profits, recording a 32-percent rise, followed by Bahrain with 11 percent and Kuwait at 8.0 percent.
Qatari companies saw their profits grow by 6.0 percent, while Saudi Arabia and Oman rose by a mediocre 3.0 percent and 2.0 percent respectively because of the oil price fall.
Saudi petrochemicals giant SABIC, the largest listed Gulf firm in terms of capitalisation, topped the list with the highest profit at $6.25 billion despite a 7.0 percent fall on 2013, Markaz said.