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Saudi’s Top Bank Al Rajhi Q1 Profit Up 2%

Saudi’s Top Bank Al Rajhi Q1 Profit Up 2%

The lender’s profit was boosted by a jump in both lending and customer deposits portfolio.

Al Rajhi Bank, Saudi Arabia’s largest listed lender, posted a two per cent increase in its first-quarter net profit on Wednesday, helped by a jump in both lending and customer deposits portfolio.

The bank made a net profit of SAR2.05 billion ($546.6 million) in the three months ending March 31, compared with SAR2.01 billion in the same period a year earlier, it said in a statement to the Saudi bourse.

Nine analysts surveyed by Reuters expected the bank to post, on average, SAR2.03 billion for the first quarter.

Two other Saudi lenders, Saudi Hollandi Bank and Saudi British Bank (SABB) beat estimates for first-quarter net profit on Monday.

Al Rajhi attributed its profit growth to higher operating income, without giving more details. Saudi banks typically do not comment on their performance until they publish more detailed results later in the quarter.

Operating income for the quarter rose by three per cent to SAR3.53 billion.

Total financing at the end of the first quarter stood at SAR180 billion, gaining 18.4 per cent on the same point of 2012, although it added that its figures for financing, assets and customer deposits had been reclassified, without elaborating.

Bank lending growth in Saudi Arabia dipped from December’s 46-month high of 16.4 per cent in the first two months of 2013, but it was still rapid at 15.9 per cent in January and 15.6 per cent in February.

In a March 26 research note, Dubai-based Arqaam Capital said loan growth at Al Rajhi should be around 17 per cent in 2013, with deposits increasing by around 16 per cent over the course of the year.

Customer deposits stood at SAR232 billion on March 31, up 20.8 per cent on the same point last year.

Al Rajhi’s total assets were worth SAR276 billion at the end of the first quarter, up 18 per cent on the same point of 2012.

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