Saudi Banks Post Rise In Q1 Net Profit

Al Rajhi Bank, SABB, Saudi Hollandi Bank and Banque Saudi Fransi recorded a rise in net profit during the first quarter of the year.

Saudi-based Al Rajhi Bank, the kingdom’s biggest Islamic lender posted an 18 per cent rise in first-quarter net profit due to an increase in operational income, but it missed analysts’ forecasts.

Earnings for the three months ended March 31 rose to SAR2.01 billion ($536 million) from SAR1.70 billion a year earlier, the bank said in a statement posted on the website of the Saudi bourse.

Analysts surveyed by Reuters had expected SAR2.09 billion on average.

The bank had net profits of SAR1.9 billion in the last quarter of 2011.

Operational income rose 16.7 per cent to SAR3.43 billion, net income from finance and investments rose 4.3 per cent to SAR2.33 billion and total assets at the end of the period were SAR234 billion, compared to 203 billion a year earlier.

Meanwhile Banque Saudi Fransi posted a ten per cent gain in its first-quarter net profit to SAR 789 million riyals ($210 million), according to a bourse statement on Tuesday, beating analysts’ average forecasts.

That compared with net earnings of SAR717 million in the same period a year earlier and SAR661 million in the last quarter of 2011.

Analysts surveyed by Reuters expected the firm to post, on average, SAR778 million in the first-quarter.

The company attributed its profit gains to an increase in total operating income.

Saudi British Bank (SABB), the Kingdom’s fourth-largest listed lender by market value, posted a 13.7 per cent rise in first-quarter net profit. The bank cited lower operating expenses as the reason for its performance in a statement posted on the website of the Saudi bourse.

It posted a net profit of SAR854 million ($227.72 million), up from SAR751 million a year ago and SAR655 million in the previous quarter.

A Reuters survey of analysts showed an average forecast of SABB’s income rising to SAR801 million.

The first-quarter result translated into an earning per share of 0.85 riyals compared to 0.75 riyals in the same period last year, the bank said in its statement.

Total operating profit for the period edged up by 1.2 per cent to SAR1.24 billion from 1.22 billion in the first quarter of 2011.

Income from special commissions fell 6.7 per cent to SAR775 million from a year ago, while loans and advances rose 19.7 per cent on the year to SAR91.2 billion, SABB said.

Total assets were valued at SAR144 billion at the end of the first quarter, versus SAR126 billion a year earlier.

Saudi Hollandi Bank posted a 21.9 per cent rise in first-quarter net profit on higher operating income and lower expenses, but missed analysts’ expectations for the first three months of the year.

The bank made SAR290 million ($77.3 million) in the first quarter compared to SAR238 million for the same period a year ago.

Six analysts canvassed by Reuters had forecast, on average, that the bank would record a net income of SAR318 million in the first quarter.

The bank attributed the result to lower operating expenses and higher operating income, which rose 11.3 per cent to SAR540 million from SAR485 million in the first three months of 2011, it said in a statement posted on the website of the Saudi bourse.

Saudi Hollandi Bank said its net income from special commissions rose 3.6 per cent to SAR322 million, total assets rose 18 per cent to SAR60.2 billion and loans and advances rose 22.2 per cent to 40.2 billion.

Bank lending to businesses has surged in the Saudi market in recent months, government figures showed in February.