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Thu 14 Apr 2011 10:54 AM

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Oman's Bank Muscat Q1 net profit up 13.5%

Lender posts a first-quarter net profit of $72.21m, largely in-line with average analyst estimates

Oman's Bank Muscat Q1 net profit up 13.5%
MONEY MATTERS: Bank Muscat posted a 13.5 percent jump in Q1 net profit amid gains in its net interest income and a rise in customer deposits

Bank Muscat, Oman's largest lender by market value, posted a 13.5 percent jump in first-quarter net profit amid gains in its net interest income and a rise in customer deposits.

The lender posted a first-quarter net profit of OR27.8m ($72.21m), largely in-line with average analyst estimates and up from OR24.5m in profit from the year-ago period.

Analysts polled by Reuters expected Bank Muscat to post an average of OR27.6m in the first quarter.

Net interest income climbed to OR53.7m from OR44.4m last year, driven by an improvement in the company's net interest margin. Customer deposits also climbed 4.4 percent to OR3.59m.

Bank Muscat, whose shares have lost 6.8 percent value so far this year, booked impairment losses of OR13.5m in the quarter, up 14.4 percent from on year earlier.

The lender cut the cash portion of its 2010 dividend by five percent in March after an order from the Gulf state's central bank.

The Central Bank of Oman (CBO) decided to revise the dividend payout from 45 percent to 40 percent, Bank Muscat said in a statement.

The company also approved a new $800m bond programme in February, allowing the company to tap international bond markets in the future.

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