Qatar Islamic Bank, the largest sharia-compliant lender in the Gulf Arab state by assets, posted a 15 percent increase in first-quarter net profit on Wednesday, edging ahead of analysts' expectations.
The bank made a net profit of QR335 million ($92 million) in the opening three months of 2014, it said in a statement. This compares with QR291.2 million in the corresponding period of last year.
Eight analysts polled by Reuters, on average, forecast a net profit of QR327.7 million for the period.
Operating income in the first quarter grew 14 percent year on year, driven by a 21 percent increase in income from financing activities to QR580 million, the bank said.
Total lending grew 30 percent year on year to QR49.2 million on March 31.
Lending growth in Qatar has been a major driver of banks' profits in recent quarters and is expected to remain high for the medium term as the Gulf Arab state spends billions of dollars on infrastructure and preparations to host the soccer World Cup in 2022.
QIB also registered a significant jump in deposits during the first quarter to QR58.7 billion on March 31. This was up 45 percent on the same point of 2013 and 17 percent higher than the beginning of the year.
The bank did not elaborate on why deposit growth was so strong, though it added that the increase had "significantly improved its liquidity position".
QIB said last month it had entered exclusive talks to buy a stake in Turkey's Bank Asya without giving further details except to say that it hoped to conclude the deal within the next few months.