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Riyad Bank profit up 27.2% to SR1bn

RIYADH: Riyad Bank posted a 27.2 percent jump in its fourth-quarter net profit.
The bank said in a bourse filing it made SR1.03 billion ($274.6 million) in the three months ending Dec. 31, compared with SR810 million in the same period of 2012.
Analysts surveyed by Reuters expected the bank to post an average net profit of SR954.3 million for the fourth quarter.
Riyad Bank said the year-on-year improvement was due to an increase in operating income —which climbed 7.5 percent to SR1.795 billion — and a drop in expenses, without elaborating further.
Net profit for the full year was SR3.95 billion, up 13.9 percent from SR3.47 billion in 2012. It cited the same factors of higher operating income — up 4.2 percent in 2013 versus the previous year — and falling expenses for the rise in earnings.
Saudi banks have benefited from rising lending, deposits and deal activity in an economy buoyed by years of high state spending which is backed by strong oil prices and record government surpluses.
Many banks have been raising capital in recent months to strengthen their reserves after a period of sustained lending growth, with Riyad Bank completing a SR4 billion capital-boosting Islamic bond issue in November.
Loans and advances at the end of 2013 stood at SR131.2 billion, up 11.7 percent on the same point of 2012.
Customer deposits gained 4.8 percent from a year earlier and stood at SR153.2 billion on Dec. 31.
The bank said Jan. 7 its board had recommended a cash dividend of 0.8 riyals for the second half of 2013. This was higher than the 0.65 riyals it paid for the same period of 2012.

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