Saudi British Bank Q4 Net Profit Up 24.4%

The lender’s fourth quarter profit rose on higher operating income and a drop in expenses.

Saudi British Bank (SABB) posted a bigger than expected 24.4 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit, with its loans portfolio, customer deposits and earnings from special commissions all rising over the year.

Saudi Arabia’s fourth-largest listed bank said in a bourse filing on Monday it made SAR815 million ($217.3 million) in the last three months of 2012 compared to SAR655 million in the last quarter of 2011. It cited higher operating income and a decrease in operating expenses for the rise.

Total operating income in Q4 was SAR1.23 billion, an improvement of 9.5 per cent over the same period of 2011.

Nine analysts surveyed by Reuters had forecast it would earn a net profit of SAR771.7 million.

Net profit for all of 2012 was SAR3.24 billion, up 12.2 per cent on 2011’s SAR2.89 billion.

Fourth quarter profit from special commissions, at SAR821 million, grew 12.4 per cent over the same three months of 2011. Full-year figures were up eight per cent over the previous year.

SABB’s loans portfolio climbed 13.3 per cent over the course of 2012 to SAR96.1 billion at the end of the year.

Customer deposits at the end of 2012 stood at SAR120.4 billion, up 14.1 per cent on the same point of 2011, while total assets increased 13 per cent over the course of 2012 to SAR156.7 billion.

Saudi banks have enjoyed successive years of expansionary government budgets, ample liquidity and improving corporate loan demand.