National Bank of Oman Q4 profit jumps 48%

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National Bank of Oman, the sultanate's fourth-largest lender by market capitalisation, posted a 47.8-percent rise jump in fourth-quarter net profit on Sunday, beating analysts' expectations.

The lender made a net profit of OMR10.2m (US$26.5m) in the final three months of 2012, according to Reuters calculations based on previous financial statements, up from OMR6.9m in the same period in 2011.

Four analysts polled by Reuters had estimated an average fourth-quarter profit of OMR8.7m.

Full-year profits stood at OMR40.7m, climbing 19 percent on the previous year's figure of OMR34.2m, a statement to the Muscat stock exchange said.

The bank was helped by a 15 percent rise in net interest income, which increased to OMR67.2m in 2012.

Loans and advances grew by 14 percent in 2012, hitting OMR1.91bn against OMR1.67bn at the end of 2011.

Customer deposits rose 18 percent year-on-year, standing at OMR1.89bn against OMR1.6bn at the end of 2011. Total assets gained 14 percent in the same period to OMR2.54bn at the end of 2012.

Fitch Ratings affirmed NBO's BBB+ rating in November, citing improving profitability, liquidity and asset quality on account of the bank's new strategy.

However, it noted the bank's weakening capital position - its core capital ratio declined 0.5 percent in the first nine months of 2012 to 12.8 percent on the back of strong growth - at a time when other Omani banks are mulling rights issues.

NBO shares closed 0.7 percent lower on the Muscat bourse Sunday.

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