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Wed 4 Jul 2012 05:36 PM

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Qatar's QNB posts 16.7% rise in Q2 profits

Qatar National Bank says performance boosted by growth in loans and deposits

Qatar's QNB posts 16.7% rise in Q2 profits

Qatar National Bank, the Gulf Arab state's largest lender by market value, reported a 16.7 percent jump in second-quarter profits on Wednesday on growth in loans and deposits.

Second-quarter net profit rose to QR2.1bn ($576.7m) from QR1.8bn in the year-earlier period, according to Reuters calculations. Four analysts polled by Reuters expected a quarterly profit of QR2.15bn.

The bank posted a half-year profit of QR4.1bn, it said in a statement.

Total assets grew 25.5 percent since end-June 2011 to QR330.8bn, the highest ever achieved by the group, as a result of strong growth in loans and advances, the statement said.

Loans and advances grew 55.9 percent to QR234.7bn in the year to June 30 2012. Customer deposits increased 25.3 percent to QR245.9bn in the same period, it said.

QNB is the first major regional lender to report earnings and is closely watched for an indication of the sector's performance.

The bank had been in the running earlier this year to acquire Turkey's Denizbank, the Turkish unit of embattled Belgian lender Dexia, but in early June lost out to Russia's Sberbank, in a deal worth 3.09 billion euros.

Sources said Dexia considered the Qatari offer too low, and was not willing to sell the healthy Turkish business - which gives access to a fast-growing market - in a fire sale.

QNB last month chose five banks to lead the syndication of a $1.5bn loan refinancing.

In February, the bank issued a $1bn five-year bond which was five times oversubscribed and received orders from more than 270 investors globally.

QNB is 50 percent owned by sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority and has been expanding abroad, with operations in Syria, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Switzerland.

In April, QNB increased its stake in Iraq's Mansour Bank to 51 percent from 23 percent as part of its regional expansion.

Banks in Qatar are expected to benefit as the country is one of the world's fastest-growing economies, set to spend more on infrastructure as it prepares to host the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament.

Shares in QNB closed down 0.5 percent on Wednesday before the results were announced. This took year-to-date losses to 3.6 percent, compared to the 6 percent drop in 2012 for the Qatar benchmark index.

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