Riyad Bank, Saudi Arabia’s third- largest lender by market value, anticipates that 2012 profit will increase as much as last year, boosted by government spending, Senior Vice President Hisham al-Abdali said.
“Net income this year may grow around the same figure of last year and lending may accelerate 10 to 13 percent,” al- Abdali said in an interview in Riyadh today. “This year will be good, even better, thanks to the record budget.”
Saudi Arabian banks are benefiting from a pick-up in lending as the Arab world’s biggest economy invests in infrastructure and industrial projects. Lending to private enterprises climbed 11 percent to 858.4 billion riyals ($229 billion) at the end of last year from 775.8 billion riyals in December 2010, according to central bank data.
The government forecast a budget surplus of 12 billion riyals this year after King Abdullah announced a $130 billion spending plan in 2011 to build homes and reduce unemployment.
The Riyadh-based bank’s outstanding loans to small-and- medium businesses may climb 30 percent to 50 percent this year, from 1.5 billion riyals at the end of December, said al-Abdali, who is also the bank’s commercial banking manager. The lender’s market share in SME lending rose to 30 percent last year from 25 percent a year earlier, he said.
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