January 29, 2018 / 8:04 PM / in a year

Qatar's Commercial Bank reports Q4 profit jump, beating two forecasts

DUBAI, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Commercial Bank, Qatar’s third-largest lender by assets, reported a large increase in fourth-quarter net profit on Monday, according to Reuters’ calculations, beating two analysts’ forecasts.

The bank earned a net profit of 345 million riyals ($94.8 million) in the three months to Dec. 31, Reuters calculated based on annual financial statements in the absence of a quarterly breakdown. That compares with a profit of 1.4 million riyals in the same period a year earlier.

SICO Bahrain had forecast the bank would make a quarterly profit of 101.3 million riyals, while QNB Financial Services had estimated a quarterly profit of 160.2 million riyals.

Qatari banks have sought to widen their funding sources since June last year when Qatar became locked in a dispute with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain.

Commercial Bank is in talks with banks about a syndicated loan of up to $500 million, Reuters reported on Sunday, citing sources, with one saying the bank was also considering bonds as part of its normal funding pattern.

Strong spending by the government on projects and an injection of public sector deposits has helped Qatari banks to weather the impact of the crisis.

The earnings of the four other major Qatari banks to report earnings so far this quarter have been mixed, with three falling short of analysts’ forecasts.

The bank’s board recommended a cash dividend of 1 riyal per share for 2017. For 2016, the board recommended paying shareholders one bonus share for every 20 shares held.

Commercial Bank, which also owns stakes in banks in Turkey and Oman, has entered into an exclusivity agreement to sell its 40 percent stake in United Arab Emirates-based United Arab Bank (UAB) to the UAE’s Tabarak Investment.

UAB earlier said on Monday that the exclusivity agreement had been extended by another 30 days to February 28. ($1 = 3.6405 Qatar riyals) (Editing by Adrian Croft)

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