Dubai's Shuaa Capital narrowed its net loss 73 percent in the fourth quarter, as the investment bank's brokerage and private equity operations returned to profit and its corporate division curbed losses.

The investment bank said in a statement that it cut its fourth-quarter net loss to 154.3 million dirhams ($42.02 million) from a loss of 577.4 million dirhams a year earlier.

Shuaa reported a net loss of 529.8 million dirhams for 2009 -- including investment impairment charges of 312.2 million dirhams and provisions of 210.5 million dirhams -- compared to a loss of 889.6 million dirhams in 2008.

We ... have passed critical milestones on our own path to recovery. Our brokerage, asset management, finance and private equity business produced positive contributions to the bottom line but write-downs and provisions offset these profits during 2009, Chairman Majid al-Gurair said in the statement.

Impairment charges amounted to 53.2 million dirhams and Shuaa took provisions of 89.8 million dirhams in the fourth quarter, the statement said.

Several banks in the Gulf Arab region have posted weaker earnings due mainly to the global economic slowdown and provisions for loan losses.

Shuaa's corporate division's loss fell to 162.4 million dirhams in the quarter from a loss of 573.3 million dirhams a year earlier, while the brokerage made a profit of 4.9 million dirhams, rebounding from a loss of 2.4 million in the year-earlier period.

The private equity division recorded a profit of 3 million dirhams, compared to a loss of 8.8 million in the last quarter of 2008.

Short and medium-term debt was reduced to 483.3 million dirhams at end-2009 from 1.38 billion dirhams a year earlier, the statement said.

(Reporting by Firouz Sedarat; editing by Andrew Roche)