Qatar National Bank, the Middle East’s biggest lender by assets, posted an 11 percent increase in third-quarter profit as lending climbed.
Net income rose to 2.11 billion riyals ($580 million) from 1.9 billion riyals a year earlier, the Doha-based lender said in a statement posted on the Qatar Exchange. Beltone Financial estimated a profit of 2.27 billion riyals, while EFG-Hermes Holding SAE forecast at 2.11 billion riyals, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Net interest income and profit from Islamic operations rose to 2.27 billion riyals from 1.93 billion riyals a year earlier, according to the statement. Net impairment loss on loans and advances fell to 238 million riyals from 250 million riyals.
Qatari banks are benefiting from government plans to invest $130 billion on developing infrastructure before the 2022 soccer World Cup. Qatar National Bank said in April it had a five-year plan to make itself an “icon” in the Middle East and Africa by expansion and “diversifying income sources.”
The lender received approval last month from Egypt’s central bank to start due diligence on the local unit of Societe Generale SA ahead of a possible acquisition. The bank this year more than doubled its holding in Dubai-based Commercial Bank International, bought stakes in Iraq’s Mansour Bank, Libya’s Bank of Commerce & Development, and Morocco’s Union Marocaine des Banques.
Qatar National Bank’s bonds have rallied amid the bank’s expansion plans and economic growth in Qatar expected by the planning bureau at 6.2 percent this year. The yield on the bank’s 3.375 percent dollar-denominated bonds fell 44 basis points the third quarter, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That compares with an eight basis-point drop in the average yield on financial company debt in the six-nation GCC, according to HSBC/Nasdaq Dubai’s GCC Conventional Financial Services U.S. Dollar Bond Index.
Qatar National Bank shares rose 0.3 percent to 136 riyals before results were reported. The stock has fallen 1.6 percent this year compared with a 3.2 percent decline for the benchmark QE Index.