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Mon 9 Apr 2007 05:47 PM

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Qatar's QNB makes record profit

Income from loans, fees and commissions give Qatar National Bank a boost.

Qatar National Bank (QNB), the country's largest lender, posted record profit in the first quarter after boosting income from loans, fees and commissions.

Net income in the three months to March 31 rose 6.7% to 652.8 million riyals ($179.4 million), or 4 riyals per share, compared with 611.59 million riyals, or 3.8 riyals per share, in the year-earlier period, the bank said in a statement on Monday.

Analysts polled by Reuters last month forecast QNB's first-quarter profit in a range of 477.96 million riyals to 760.27 million riyals.

"QNB made significant strides in corporate and retail banking," the bank's acting Chief Executive, Ali Shareef al-Emadi, is quoted as saying in the statement.

Net interest income and income from financing activities rose 19.7% to 80.8 million riyals, the bank said. Net fees and commissions grew 49.5% to 194.1 million riyals, and loans and advances soared 41.5% to 47.2 billion riyals.

Qatar's main stock market index declined 15.2% in the first quarter. It is the worst performer in the Gulf this year.

The government owns 50% of QNB. Nationals from outside the Gulf can own as much as 25% of shares in the lender.

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