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Qatar National Bank Posts 14.3% Profit Jump

Qatar National Bank Posts 14.3% Profit Jump

QNB posted a net profit of QAR2.4 billion for the three months to September 30

Qatar National Bank (QNB), the largest listed lender in the Gulf Arab region, posted an 14.3 per cent jump in third-quarter net profit on Tuesday, according to Reuters calculations, missing analysts’ forecasts.

QNB, which completed the purchase of a majority stake in Societe Generale’s Egyptian arm for $2 billion in March, posted a net profit of QAR2.4 billion ($659 million) for the three months to Sept. 30, compared with QAR2.1 billion a year earlier.

Nine analysts, on average, forecast a net profit of QAR2.5 billion in a Reuters poll.

QNB, whose results are generally seen as a bellwether for the sector’s performance in the country, said in a statement its nine-month net profit was QAR7.1 billion, an increase of 14.1 per cent over the same period last year.

The higher profit was supported by strong asset growth – with total assets at the end of September up 24.5 per cent year-on-year – which, in turn, was boosted by a 27.4 per cent increase in loans and advances.

Lending growth in the Gulf Arab state has been a key driver of bank profits in recent quarters as the country pours billions of dollars into infrastructure projects, such as electricity and water generation and transportation, in a development push and ahead of its hosting of the 2022 soccer world cup.

While growth in total bank credit dipped to a 27-month low in August, it still increased by 13.6 per cent year-on-year, according to central bank data.

QNB’s deposit base at the end of September stood at QAR331 billion, up 23.3 per cent on the same point of 2012.

The lender, which is 50 per cent owned by sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority, named Ali al-Kuwari as acting chief executive of the bank in July after Ali Shareef al-Emadi, the previous incumbent, was named chairman of its board of directors.

Emadi was appointed finance minister following a cabinet reshuffle in the Gulf Arab state at the end of June following the ascension of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani as Emir of Qatar.

QNB has been on an expansion spree in the past two years, snapping up stakes in regional lenders as it seeks to build an emerging market franchise with the backing of its gas-rich government.

The bank wants its international business to contribute around 40 per cent of profit and 45 per cent of total assets by 2017, CFO Ramzi Mari said in December, up from around 17 per cent and 30 per cent prior to the National Societe Generale Bank transaction.

Its capital adequacy ratio stood at 14.6 per cent on Sept. 30, with the bank “keen to maintain a strong capitalisation in order to support future strategic plans,” the statement said.

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