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Wed 8 Oct 2008 11:01 AM

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Bank Muscat posts 44% profit jump

Oman's largest lender see Q3 net income increase to $84mn, meeting analysts' forecasts.

Bank Muscat, Oman's largest lender, posted a 44.3 percent increase in third-quarter net profit on Wednesday to 32.3 million rials ($83.9 million), meeting analysts forecasts.

The bank made 90.1 million rials in the nine months ended Sept. 30, compared with 62.6 million rials in the same period a year earlier, it said in a statement on the bourse website.

It did not give third-quarter figures but newswire Reuters calculated the profit based on earlier financial statements.

Analysts' forecasts for Bank Muscat's quarterly profit ranged from 27.15 million rials to 32.9 million rials in a Reuters net profit survey in September.

Bank Muscat posted a nine-month net interest income of 115.3 million rials compared to 90.5 million rials in the year earlier period. It reported nine-month non-interest income of 58.9 million rials compared to 34.5 million rials a year earlier.

Bank Muscat's shares initially rose over 6 percent on the results but pared early gains to fall around 0.61 percent.

Oman's economy minister told Reuters on Tuesday that strong quarterly results should counter a sharp declined in the country's stocks. Omani shares took a beating on Monday as the region was swept up in the global sell-off. The main Omani index closed down 7.29 percent on Tuesday.

Oman's central bank last month said its benchmark repurchase rate had risen due to tighter liquidity but banks still had adequate funds to meet their lending needs. (Reuters)

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