Commercial Bank of Qatar (CBQ), which is eyeing a majority stake in Turkey’s Alternatifbank, posted a 19 per cent jump in fourth-quarter net profit on Sunday on increased lending, but still trailed analysts’ forecasts.
The bank earned 447 million riyals ($122.8 million) for the fourth quarter, compared with 376 million riyals a year earlier, a company statement said.
Analysts had forecast an average quarterly profit of 452.4 million riyals, according to a Reuters poll.
CBQ earned a full-year profit of 2 billion riyals, up 7 per cent compared to 1.88 billion riyals in 2011.
Total assets grew 12 per cent to 80 billion riyals due to growth in lending to customers. Loans and advances increased 17 per cent over the course of 2012 to 48.6 billion riyals.
Deposits grew 9 per cent in 2012 to 41.4 billion riyals.
Net provisions for loans and advances fell 42 per cent in 2012 to 140 million riyals, the statement said.
However, the bank’s total operating expenses grew 17 per cent to 1 billion riyals, compared with 875 million riyals in 2011, with staffing costs the main factor behind the rise.
The bank proposed a cash dividend of 6 riyals per share, equal to 2011’s dividend.
CBQ said earlier this month it expects to complete the purchase of a 75 per cent stake in Turkey’s Alternatifbank by the end of March. It began talks in December with Anadolu Holding to acquire the stake, the latest example of Gulf lenders looking outside their home market for acquisitions.
Alternatifbank has a current market value of $566 million, meaning the stake would cost the Qatari bank $424.5 million at market price.
Recent Qatari banks’ strong interest in Turkey is likely to stem from the desire to diversify out of their home country’s narrow economy, coupled with the lack of potential acquisitions in the Gulf region, Fitch Ratings said in a January 14 note.
Qatar National Bank, the Gulf state’s largest lender, is interested in expanding into Turkey through acquisitions, its chief financial officer said earlier this month, having lost out to Russia’s Sberbank last year in a bid to buy Denizbank.