QNB profits jump 14.3pc to $659m
Doha, October 8, 2013
Qatar National Bank (QNB), the largest listed lender in the Gulf region, posted an 14.3 percent jump in third-quarter net profit on Tuesday, according to Reuters calculations, missing analysts' forecasts.
QNB, which completed the purchase of a majority stake in Societe Generale's Egyptian arm for $2 billion in March, posted a net profit of 2.4 billion riyals ($659 million) for the three months to Sept. 30, compared with 2.1 billion riyals a year earlier.
Nine analysts, on average, forecast a net profit of 2.5 billion riyals in a Reuters poll.
QNB, whose results are generally seen as a bellwether for the sector's performance in the country, said in a statement its nine-month net profit was 7.1 billion riyals, an increase of 14.1 percent over the same period last year.
The higher profit was supported by strong asset growth - with total assets at the end of September up 24.5 percent year-on-year - which, in turn, was boosted by a 27.4 percent increase in loans and advances.
Lending growth in Qatar has been a key driver of bank profits in recent quarters as the country pours billions of dollars into infrastructure projects, such as electricity and water generation and transportation, in a development push and ahead of its hosting of the 2022 soccer world cup.
While growth in total bank credit dipped to a 27-month low in August, it still increased by 13.6 percent year-on-year, according to central bank data.
QNB's deposit base at the end of September stood at 331 billion riyals, up 23.3 percent on the same point of 2012.
The lender, which is 50-percent owned by sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority, named Ali Al-Kuwari as acting chief executive of the bank in July after Ali Shareef Al-Emadi, the previous incumbent, was named chairman of its board of directors.
Emadi was appointed finance minister following a cabinet reshuffle in the Gulf Arab state at the end of June following the ascension of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani as Emir of Qatar.
QNB has been on an expansion spree in the past two years, snapping up stakes in regional lenders as it seeks to build an emerging market franchise with the backing of its government.
The bank wants its international business to contribute around 40 percent of profit and 45 percent of total assets by 2017, chief financial officer Ramzi Mari said in December, up from around 17 percent and 30 percent prior to the National Societe Generale Bank transaction.
Its capital adequacy ratio stood at 14.6 percent on Sept. 30, with the bank "keen to maintain a strong capitalisation in order to support future strategic plans," the statement said. - Reuters