Doha Bank profits surge 20% in Q1

But earnings growth set to slow with full year profits forecast to come in 10% higher than previous year.
Doha Bank profits surge 20% in Q1
By Dania Saadi
Wed 15 Apr 2009 08:36 PM

Doha Bank said on Wednesday that first-quarter net profit rose 20 percent, due to increased net interest and Islamic banking income.

The bank expects 2009 profit to rise by 10 percent from the prior year, Chief Executive R. Seetharaman told a news conference.

Net profit in the three months to March 31 reached 329.7 million riyals ($90.6 million), compared with 274 million riyals in the year-earlier period.

Doha Bank's net profit increase was ahead of the country's largest bank, Qatar National Bank, which reported a 10 percent rise in first quarter net income.

"The bank's core revenue streams, like interest income, foreign exchange earnings etc., have shown remarkable growth," Doha Bank Chairman Sheikh Fahad bin Mohammed bin Jabor al-Thani, said in a statement.

Government measures such as buying stakes in listed banks and purchasing the lenders' investment portfolio on the Doha bourse will help boost profits, CEO Seetharaman said.

"These measures were definitely needed to support consumer confidence, improve the risk profile and profitability," he added.

Doha Bank sold about 95 percent of its Doha Securities Market equity portfolio to the sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) in a 537 million riyals deal, Seetharaman said.

The bank also sold a 5 percent stake, worth about 576 million riyals, to QIA in December and will sell another 5 percent stake in December this year, he said. (Reuters)

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