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Al-Rajhi Bank Q1 profit soars to $427m

Riyadh, April 13, 2008

Saudi Arabia's Al-Rajhi Bank, the Gulf's largest Islam-compliant lender, said first-quarter profit rose 2.1 percent on growth in its lending business. Net income in the three months to March 31 climbed to 1.6 billion riyals ($427.2 million), compared with 1.57 billion riyals in the year-earlier period.

Net income from investment -- the Islamic equivalent of income from lending -- rose 11.5 percent to 2.03 billion riyals, a bank statement said.

Income from banking services rose 18 percent to 454 million riyals, it said, without giving details about other sources of revenue, such as from trading and foreign exchange operations.

 "The bank continues to achieve growth by diversifying its sources of revenue, and developing the investment and corporate banking sectors along with retail banking," the bank's chief executive officer, Abdullah Sulaiman al-Rajhi, said in the statement.

Local investment bank KSB Capital forecast Al-Rajhi would post a profit of 1.6 billion riyals.

Deposits climbed 25.1 percent to 101.4 billion riyals, assets 25.6 percent to 143 billion riyals, and shareholders' equity 15.6 percent to 24 billion riyals, the bank said.

Shares of Al-Rajhi are down more than 34 percent this year, compared with about 13 percent for the main stock index. In contrast, shares of competitor Dubai Islamic Bank are down about 2 percent.

Cheuvreux Middle East started coverage of Al-Rajhi last month with an "outperform" recommendation and a target price of 121 riyals ($32.27) per share. The stock last traded at 85.75 riyals. - Reuters




Tags: banking | profit | Al-Rajhi |

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