Samba posts Q1 profit flat, beats estimate
Riyadh, April 10, 2013
Samba Financial Group , Saudi Arabia's second-largest listed bank, posted a marginal rise in its first quarter net profit on Wednesday, but the results still beat analysts' forecasts.
Samba said it made 1.159 billion riyals ($309.1 million) in the first three months of 2013, up 1.2 percent over the 1.145 billion riyals recorded in the same period of last year.
It attributed the slight rise in the quarterly profit to higher operating income, without elaborating.
Nine analysts surveyed by Reuters had forecast the bank to earn net profit of 1.079 billion riyals in the quarter.
Saudi banks have enjoyed successive years of expansionary government budgets, ample liquidity and improving corporate loan demand.
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 percent and 12 percent year-on-year in January and February respectively.
Samba's loans portfolio climbed 15 percent to 107 billion riyals, while deposits grew 9 percent to 152 billion riyals.
Total operating income for the quarter rose 6 percent to 1.897 billion riyals, profit from special commissions grew 3 percent to 1.082 billion riyals.
Samba's A+ rating from Fitch was affirmed in March, with the agency stating that a resumption of loan growth, stable loan impairment charges and good cost containment should support earnings in 2013. - Reuters
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