Saudi banks beat first-quarter profit forecast
Riyadh, April 10, 2013
Saudi Hollandi Bank and Saudi British Bank (SABB) beat estimates for first-quarter net profit, with both lenders attributing the growth in earnings to higher operating income.
SABB, Saudi Arabia's fourth-largest listed bank, said its first quarter net profit rose 11 per cent over last year to SR948 million ($252.8 million) from SR854 million, a bourse filing said on Tuesday.
This exceeded the average forecast of nine analysts polled by Reuters for a net profit of 847.3 million riyals.
Meanwhile, Saudi Hollandi, the kingdom's eighth-largest listed bank, said its first quarter net profit rose 19.4 per cent over last year to SR346.3 million in the first three months of 2013, compared with net profit of SR290 million in the first quarter of 2012, a separate filing said.
Five analysts surveyed by Reuters had forecast Saudi Hollandi to earn net profit of SR315 million in the quarter.
Both banks attributed the profit increase to more operating income, which increased year-on-year by 16.4 and 8.1 per cent at SABB and Saudi Hollandi respectively.
Loan growth, which has been strong in Saudi Arabia on the back of successive years of expansionary government budgets, ample liquidity and improving corporate loan demand, was up 11 per cent year-on-year at SABB and 22.7 per cent at Saudi Hollandi.
Bank lending in Saudi Arabia dipped from December's 14-month high in the first two months of 2013 but growth was still 13.4 per cent and 12 per cent year-on-year in January and February respectively, according to figures from the central bank.
Meanwhile, net special commission income in the first three months of 2013 was up 14.2 per cent on the same period last year at SABB, with Saudi Hollandi posting a 9.3 per cent increase.
Shares in SABB ended Tuesday up 1.5 per cent, with Saudi Hollandi's stock advancing 2.1 percent on the day, against a wider market increase of 0.4 percent. The results announcement came after the market closed.-Reuters
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