Samba Financial Group, Saudi Arabia’s second-largest listed bank by assets, said its fourth-quarter net profit rose 15.8 per cent year-on-year, coming in slightly below analysts’ expectations.
The bank said in a bourse filing on Wednesday that it made SAR1.01 billion ($269 million) in the three months to Dec. 31, compared to SAR869 million in the same period of 2012.
Nine analysts surveyed by Reuters had forecast it would, on average, post a net profit for the quarter of 1SAR.08 billion.
Samba attributed the profit rise to an increase in operating income, which advanced 9.9 per cent year-on-year to SAR1.6 billion; it did not elaborate.
Saudi firms issue brief earnings statements early in the reporting period before publishing more detailed results later.
The quarterly results pushed up full-year 2013 earnings after three flat quarters, with net profit advancing 4.1 per cent on the previous year to SAR4.51 billion.
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 – the Kingdom’s budget for 2014, while the smallest increase for a decade, is still another record amount.
Samba’s loans portfolio climbed 10.6 per cent year-on-year to SAR113.5 billion at the end of 2013. Deposits grew 6.5 per cent to SAR158.3 billion.
The bank said late last month that its board had recommended a cash dividend of SAR0.85 per share for the second half of 2013, in line with the dividend for the corresponding period of 2012.