Qatar National Bank Q3 net up, loan growth dips

Reuters DUBAI | Updated on October 12, 2014 Published on October 12, 2014

Qatar National Bank (QNB), the largest lender in the Gulf Arab region, reported a 20.8 percent jump in third-quarter net profit on Sunday after higher fee income offset another quarter of declining loan growth.

The rise in earnings came despite a second successive quarter in which year-on-year lending growth slipped, a statement from the bank showed, reflecting a wider slowdown in lending in the Gulf state.

QNB's loans and advances stood at 329 million riyals at the end of September, up 8.1 percent from the same point of 2013. The bank had posted five quarters of year-on-year lending growth in excess of 20 percent prior to the 10.1 percent reported for this year's second quarter.

Lending growth in Qatar has been a major driver of bank profits in recent years and had been expected to remain high for the medium term as the Gulf Arab state spends billions of dollars on infrastructure and preparations to host the soccer World Cup in 2022.

However, schemes have been slower to get off the ground than expected because of bureaucratic and planning problems, with about 15 percent of projects likely to experience some rescheduling, sources have told Reuters.

QNB, results of which are generally viewed as a gauge for the health of the wider banking sector in Qatar, made a net profit of 2.9 billion riyals ($796.4 million) for the three months to Sept. 30, compared with 2.4 billion riyals in the same period last year, according to Reuters calculations based on financial statements.

The average forecast from six analysts polled by Reuters was for net profit of 2.57 billion riyals.

The bank's income from fees and commission in the nine months to Sept. 30 rose 7.4 percent year on year to 1.6 billion riyals.

The results did not include any impact from pan-African lender Ecobank , in which QNB acquired a 23.5 percent stake last month, the statement said. ($1 = 3.6412 Qatar riyal) (Editing by Matt Smith and David Goodman)

Published on October 12, 2014
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