February 9, 2015 / 5:32 PM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-Commercial Bank of Qatar Q4 net profit rises 29 pct, misses forecasts

* Q4 net profit 387 mln riyals vs 300 mln riyals yr-ago

* Loans boosted by government, services, retail

* Profits still miss analyst forecasts (Adds detail, context)

DUBAI, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Commercial Bank of Qatar (CBQ), the Gulf Arab state’s second-largest lender by assets, posted a 29 percent increase in fourth-quarter net profit on Monday, propelled by higher income from loans and revenue from its Turkish business.

The results round out a generally upbeat earnings season for banks in Qatar, where profits have been sustained in recent quarters by surging public spending in preparation for the hosting of the soccer World Cup in 2022.

The bank earned a net 387 million riyals ($106 million) in the three months to December last year, it said in a statement. That compares with a profit of 300 million a year earlier.

Five analysts had forecast an average quarterly profit of 425.1 million riyals, according to a Reuters poll.

CBQ made a net profit of 1.94 billion riyals in 2014 as a whole, up 20.9 pct from 2013, the statement said.

Loans and advances to customers reached 72.5 billion riyals at the end of December, up 8.4 percent from a year before. Growth in lending was generated in the government, contracting, services, commercial and retail sectors, the statement said.

Several years of accelerated credit growth in the Qatari banking system cooled to 6.1 percent in November, the lowest since records started in 2006, according to central bank data. Delays to some infrastructure projects had been cited by analysts as one factor behind the slowdown.

The bank said net interest income was 2.58 billion riyals for the full year, 17.9 percent up from the year earlier. CBQ’s Turkish subsidiary Alternatifbank contributed nearly a quarter of the annual total. The lender bought Alternatifbank in 2013 and last year was the first full year its results were consolidated into CBQ’s earnings.

Still, CBQ’s net interest margin dipped slightly to 2.72 percent at the end of December, from 2.77 percent in the third quarter.

The bank said it would pay a combination of a cash dividend of 3.5 riyals per share and one bonus share for every 10 shares held. It had paid a mixture of cash and a bonus share dividend worth 4 riyals per share for 2013. ($1 = 3.6413 Qatar riyals) (Reporting by Tom Arnold; Editing by Dale Hudson and David Holmes)

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