Doha Bank, Qatar's fifth largest bank, posted a 9.8 percent rise in its third-quarter net profit on Wednesday, buoyed by an increase in net interest income and a drop in the amount set aside to meet loans and investment losses.
Net profit rose to QR308.3m ($85m) in the three months ended September 30, which compared with an average forecast from five analysts of QR310.9m.
Provisions for loan losses fell 6 percent to QR45.6m, while impairment provisions for investment losses more than halved to QR5.8m.
"Margins came under pressure a bit on the lending side. This is slow growth for Qatar, nothing like what we saw with QNB (Qatar National Bank)" said Japp Meijer, senior analyst at AlembicHC in Dubai.
"Within Qatar we strongly prefer QNB & CBQ Commercial Bank."
QNB reported a 27 percent quarterly profit increase earlier this month.
Doha Bank's net loans and advances rose 6.5 percent to QR28.4bn for the nine-month period, the company said. Deposits grew 7 percent to QR30.2bn, from QR28.3bn a year ago.
"We do expect to see an acceleration in loan growth because of the salary increases. That will provide more opportunities for lending," Meijer said.
In April Qatar's central bank limited the amount Qatari citizens can borrow to no more than QR2m ($549,254) on loans with a maximum maturity of six years and QR400,000 on loans of no more than four years.
The bank's chief executive said in August that it will likely go ahead with a planned bond issuance by the first quarter of 2012.
Last year, Doha Bank mandated Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan to arrange for the $500m bond.
In September the Qatari government hiked salaries, pensions and benefits for its state and military employees by 60 percent, in a move seen as an attempt to help preserve stability in the state.
Banks in Qatar are expected to benefit as the country is one of the world's fastest growing economies - GDP grew as much as 41.8 percent in the second quarter - and is set to spend more on infrastructure as it prepares to host the 2022 World Cup.
Doha Bank's shares closed at 62.10 riyals before the results were announced.For all the latest banking and finance news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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