October 18, 2018 / 6:41 AM / 25 days ago

Saudi's Samba beats forecasts with 13.2 pct Q3 profit rise

DUBAI, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Samba Financial Group, Saudi Arabia’s third-largest bank by assets, reported a 13.2 percent rise in third-quarter net profit on Thursday, beating analysts’ forecasts.

The bank, the first major bank from the kingdom to report earnings during the quarter, made a profit of 1.96 billion riyals ($522.5 million) in the three months to Sept. 30, up from 1.73 billion riyals in the same period a year earlier, it said in a bourse statement.

Three analysts on average forecast the bank would make a profit of 1.42 billion riyals.

The bank attributed its increase in net profit to a rise in net special commission income and an increase in other operating income.

A return to modest growth in the economy in 2018 is helping banks after several years in which they felt the fallout from weaker oil prices as the government embarked on an austerity drive in a bid to fill a budget shortfall.

Loans and advances at the end September stood at 114.7 billion riyals, falling 5 percent on the same point of 2017, and deposits rose 1.8 percent to 169.6 billion riyals over the same period. ($1 = 3.7512 riyals) (Reporting By Tom Arnold Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)

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