Bank Muscat Q2 net profit up 8.9%

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Bank Muscat, the main victim of a $45 million global cyber heist, made a second-quarter net profit of 38.1 million Omani rials ($98.95 million), Reuters calculated, slightly higher than estimated.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast an average quarterly profit of 36.2 million rials, up from 35 million rials reported in the same period in 2012.

Oman's biggest lender by market value reported a net profit of 63.1 million rials in the first half of 2013 on Monday, down from 68.4 million rials in the prior-year period. The decline in profit was attributed to a first-quarter operating loss related to extra provisioning for fraud.

"The Bank is working on various channels to recover the loss arising from this exposure and will update the market on any material developments in this regard," a company statement to the Muscat bourse said.

The bank, one of the victims of a $45 million global cyber heist, took an impairment charge of up to 15 million rials in the first quarter after a small number of its travel cards were hit by fraud - an amount United Securities calculated was around 10.5 percent of the bank's estimated 2013 earnings.

The cards allow users to carry currencies abroad rather than using their debit or credit cards in foreign countries, which can be expensive.

Reuters calculated second-quarter profit from previous financial statements. First-quarter net profit was 25 million rials.

Net impairments for the first half totalled 17.5 million rials against 25.1 million rials in the same period in 2012. ($1 = 0.3851 Omani rials)

Net loans rose 7 percent in the first half of 2013, while deposits increased by 13 percent, the statement said.

Shares of Bank Muscat are up 2.6 percent this year on Oman's bourse.

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