MANAMA, Bahrain - Capital Intelligence, a Cyprus-based rating agency, said it suspended its ratings for the largest bank in Saudi Arabia because the bank failed to publish up-to-date financial statements.
National Commercial Bank has yet to issue audited figures for 1990 and 1991, the agency said, while accounts for 1989 were qualified by the auditors.
The bank has not explained its lack of timely accounting, but Gulf banking sources believe the delay was caused by a number of large loans to prominent Saudi citizens that are delinquent.
Capital Intelligence said it believes the main cause of delay is "the challenging and unconventional methods used by the bank in its attempt to solve its nonperforming-loans problem."
The bank has been provisioning against the loans and may now try to write them off to put pressure on the borrowers to resolve the situation, the agency said.
National Commercial broke even in 1989, the most recent year with results available, after transferring all its $245 million of operating profit into provisions against doubtful loans. Assets totaled $23 billion at the end of 1989.
Based on the 1989 results, Capital Intelligence had given the bank a Triple-B long term rating and a A-2 short-term rating.
The agency said the ratings would remain suspended until the bank produces current financial statements.