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Tue 8 Oct 2013 04:09 PM

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Qatar's QNB posts 14% jump in Q3 net profit

Largest lender in Gulf region reports net profit of $659m for three months to Sept 30

Qatar's QNB posts 14% jump in Q3 net profit

Qatar National Bank (QNB), the largest listed lender in the Gulf Arab region, posted an 14.3 percent jump in third-quarter net profit on Tuesday, according to Reuters calculations, missing analysts' estimates.

QNB, which completed the purchase of a majority stake in Societe Generale's Egyptian arm for $2 billion in March, posted a net profit of QR2.4bn ($659 million) for the three months to September 30, compared with QR2.1bn a year earlier.

Nine analysts, on average, forecast a net profit of QR2.5bn in a Reuters poll.

Its nine-month net profit was QR7.1bn, an increase of 14.1 percent over the same period last year, the bank said in a statement.

The higher profit was supported by strong asset growth - with total assets at
the end of September up 24.5 percent year-on-year - which, in turn, was boosted
by a 27.4 percent increase in loans and advances.

Lending growth in the Gulf Arab state has been a key driver of bank profits
in recent quarters as the country pours billions of dollars into infrastructure
projects, such as electricity and water generation and transportation, in a
development push and ahead of its hosting of the 2022 soccer world cup.

While growth in total bank credit dipped to a 27-month low in August, it
still increased by 13.6 percent year-on-year, according to central bank
data.

QNB's deposit base at the end of September stood at QR331bn, up
23.3 percent on the same point of 2012.

The lender, which is 50-percent owned by sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority, named Ali al-Kuwari as acting chief executive of the bank in July after Ali Shareef al-Emadi, the previous incumbent, was named chairman of its board of directors.

Emadi was appointed finance minister following a cabinet reshuffle in the Gulf Arab state at the end of June following the ascension of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani as Emir of Qatar.

QNB has been on an expansion spree in the past two years, snapping up stakes in regional lenders as it seeks to build an emerging market franchise with the backing of its gas-rich government.

The bank wants its international business to contribute around 40 percent of profit and 45 percent of total assets by 2017, Chief Financial Officer Ramzi Mari said in December, up from around 17 percent and 30 percent prior to the National Societe Generale Bank transaction.

Its capital adequacy ratio stood at 14.6 percent on Sept. 30, with the bank "keen to maintain a strong capitalisation in order to support future strategic plans," the statement said.

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