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Riyad Bank 1Q Profit Climbs 22%, Beats Analyst Estimates

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April 14 (Bloomberg) -- Riyad Bank, Saudi Arabia’s third-largest lender by market value, posted a 22 percent increase in first-quarter profit as income from operations grew.

Quarterly net income advanced to 901 million riyals ($240.3 million) from 741 million riyals in the year-earlier period, the Riyadh-based lender said in a statement on the Saudi bourse website today. The average estimate of six analysts was for profit of 851 million riyals, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Nine of the country’s 11 publicly traded banks that released earnings results for the previous quarter reported an increase in lending. Alinma Bank had the biggest increase at 35 percent. Riyad Bank reported a 4 percent increase in lending, according the lender’s statement today.

Saudi banks are lending at the fastest pace in three years as the economy benefits from oil prices that averaged more than $100 a barrel last quarter. Bank lending to the private sector grew 12 percent in February, the fastest pace since March 2009, according to central bank data.

Saudi Investment Bank posted a 2 percent increase in first-quarter profit to 212 million riyals as operating income increased, the lender said in a statement to the Saudi bourse today. Net income missed the median estimate of three analysts for a profit of 216 million riyals, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Of the Saudi banks that have released results, Saudi Investment is the only bank to have reported a decline in lending in the previous quarter. Loans and advances fell 9 percent to 28 billion riyals from the year earlier period, according the statement from the lender on the Saudi bourse website.

Samba Financial Group hasn’t released its results for the first quarter.

To contact the reporter on this story: Glen Carey in Riyadh at gcarey8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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