Banque Saudi Fransi posts 22% jump in Q4 profit

Lender part owned by Credit Agricole cites higher operating income for strong performance

Banque Saudi Fransi (BSF), the lender part-owned by Credit Agricole, posted a 22.2 percent jump in its fourth-quarter net profit citing higher operating income, it said in a bourse statement on Monday.

The kingdom's fifth-largest bank by market capitalisation said it made SR808m ($215.5m) in the three months ending December 31 compared with SR661m in the same period a year earlier.

Saudi banks have enjoyed successive years of expansionary government budgets, ample liquidity and improving corporate loan demand.

Last week, the world's top oil exporter announced its 2012 budget surplus reached 14.2 percent of gross domestic product and said its spending plan in 2013 was 19 percent higher than last year.

NCB Capital, the investment banking arm of unlisted National Commercial Bank, said in a January 5 note it expected sector-wide growth in Q4 net profit of 12.8 percent year-on-year.

Saudi banks typically do not give detailed explanations for earnings performances until later in the reporting cycle.

BSF's 2012 net profit was SR3bn compared to SR2.9bn in 2011, the statement added.

The bank said its operating profit for the fourth quarter rose 16.1 percent on the year to SR1.29bn.

Profits from special commissions during 2012 rose 5.4 percent to SR3.31bn, while total assets were 12.9 percent higher, at SR158bn, on December 31 2012 than they were a year earlier.

The bank said its loans and advances portfolio also grew by 12 percent over the year to reach SR103bn by the end of December.

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