Since 1996, the Bank’s Board of Directors has recommend the distribution to holders of common shares of a dividend payment of at least 30% of profits after tax for each year, subject to the approval of the Bank’s shareholders and to the availability of distributable net income for the year, after payment of distributions to holders of preferred shares.

Pursuant to the Bank’s by-laws and applicable Lebanese law, the Bank’s annual net profits (dividends are payable from the Bank’s standalone available-for-distribution net income) shall be distributed in the following order of priority:
  • To the legal reserve, in amounts equivalent to 10% of the Bank’s net profits after tax, to be transferred each year until such reserve reaches one-third of the Bank’s share capital. The legal reserve is distributable only upon the liquidation of the Bank. In 2016, the Bank and its subsidiaries transferred LBP 48,748 million to the legal reserve in accordance with applicable law.
  • To the general banking risks reserve. Pursuant to BDL Decision No. 7129, the Bank is required to set aside a minimum of 0.2% and a maximum of 0.3% of its risks-weighted assets as a reserve for unspecified banking risks, which forms an integral part of the Bank’s Tier I capital. The aggregate of this reserve must be equivalent to 1.25% of risk-weighted assets within ten years from the date of Decision No. 7129 and 2.0% of risk-weighted assets within 20 years of such date. In addition, the Bank is required to establish a special reserve for properties acquired in satisfaction of debts and not liquidated within the required delays. These special reserves shall be withheld from the annual profits at the end of the year during which the acquired property should have been liquidated, and will not be accounted for as an expense as per IFRS.
  • To the payment of dividends in respect of Series “F”, “G”, “H” and “I” preferred shares (or any other series of preferred shares), as approved by the Ordinary General Meeting of the Bank’s shareholders.
  • To the Bank’s general or special reserve or profits carried forward.
  • To holders of the Bank’s common shares.

The determination to pay any dividend in respect of the common shares will depend upon, among other things, the Bank’s net earnings, its financial condition and cash requirements, priority rights for distribution, government regulations and policies, and such other factors as may be deemed relevant by the Board of Directors and shareholders from time to time.

Notwithstanding, dividends to common shares cannot be made until the full amounts of dividends to preferred shares have been paid or declared and set aside. The common dividend distributions are made annually on the dates specified by the General Meeting. Under Lebanese law, dividends not claimed within five years of the date of payment become barred by statute of limitations. Half of these unclaimed dividends revert to the Bank, while the balance is paid over to the Lebanese government.

The table below highlights the dividends distribution practices at Bank Audi over the past 5 years. During its meeting held on 8 April 2016, the Ordinary General Assembly resolved the payment of dividends on preferred shares of respectively USD 6, USD 6 and 6.5 respectively per “F”,”G” and “H” preferred shares and a common dividend per share of LBP 603 (before the 5% withholding tax), the equivalent of USD 0.4. Total dividends paid for the exercise represented 45.3% of consolidated net earnings in 2016. On the basis of a share price of ordinary shares and GDRs of respectively USD 6.80 and USD 6.50 as at end-December 2016, the dividend yield reached 5.9% for ordinary shares and 6.2% for GDRs as compared to a 4.6% average in the MENA region (98 companies), 4.1% in both emerging markets (638 companies) and around the world (2,346 companies) as per Bloomberg.