Saudi Hollandi Bank, Saudi Arabia’s oldest lender, missed analyst expectations despite posting a 10.8 per cent rise in fourth-quarter net profit.
The lender, partly-owned by Royal Bank of Scotland, said in a bourse filing on Wednesday it made 347.3 million riyals ($92.6 million) in the three months to December 31, compared with 313.4 million riyals in the corresponding quarter of 2012.
Six analysts surveyed by Reuters had forecast it would post, on average, a net profit of 375 million riyals.
The bank’s net profit for the quarter was boosted by a 22 per cent jump in total operating income to 671.1 million riyals, while profit from special commissions grew 23.8 per cent year-on-year to 427.1 million riyals.
Its full-year net profit was 1.5 billion riyals, a 19.8 per cent increase on 2012, which it attributed to higher operating income. That rose 17.9 per cent in 2013 to 2.62 billion riyals.
Saudi firms issue brief earnings statements early in the reporting period before publishing more detailed results later.
Saudi Arabian banks are benefiting from a positive economic climate, as years of high oil prices and government surpluses have pushed state spending to record levels, with high loan growth a big driver of profit growth.
Saudi Hollandi’s loans portfolio stood at 53.7 billion riyals on December 31, 18.5 per cent higher than the same point of 2012.
Many lenders have been raising capital in recent months to strengthen their reserves, with Saudi Hollandi completing a 2.5 billion riyal capital-boosting Islamic bond issue in December.
The sukuk led NCB Capital to upgrade the stock to overweight on December 25 as a sign of strong future loan growth offsetting the risk to net interest margins from higher cost of funding.
Its deposit base gained 14.8 per cent year-on-year to 61.9 billion riyals at the end of 2013.
Saudi Hollandi’s board recommended a 2013 cash dividend of one riyal per share last month, in line with the previous year.