Qatar National Bank Q4 net jumps, beats forecasts

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SHARP RISE: The bank's fourth-quarter net profit was $412m, compared with $294m a year earlier (Image: Bank website screen)

SHARP RISE: The bank's fourth-quarter net profit was $412m, compared with $294m a year earlier (Image: Bank website screen)

Qatar National Bank (QNB), the Gulf state's largest lender by market capitalisation, posted a 40.2 percent jump in fourth-quarter earnings, beating analyst expectations as financing and interest income soared.

The lender said in a statement that annual net profit jumped 35.8 percent to $1.57bn in 2010.

Fourth-quarter net profit was $412m, Reuters calculated, compared with $294m a year earlier.

Analysts polled by Reuters expected an average quarterly profit of $354.3m.

Net interest income and income from financing activities climbed 52.3 percent, while operating income increased 34.5 percent in the year, the statement said.

Earnings per share increased to 14.60 riyals compared with 10.70 riyals in 2009.

The board recommended paying a dividend of 5 riyals and three bonus shares for every 10 held, the statement said.

The board also recommended increasing the bank's capital 25 percent after the bonus share distribution through a rights issue, in view of the lender's expansion at home and overseas and to meet regulatory requirements and maintain its high rating, it added.

The ratio of non-performing loans rose to 0.9 percent from 0.7 percent in 2009, the statement said.

QNB is 50 percent owned by sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and has been expanding abroad, with operations in Syria, Jordan, the UAE and Switzerland.

It was the first major regional lender to report earnings and is closely watched for indications of the sector's performance. The bank's five-year $1.5bn bond was nearly four times oversubscribed in November.

The bank posted a net profit of $1.1bn for the first nine months of the year, it said in a statement in October.

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Qatar National Bank - Qatar
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