Al Rajhi Bank, Saudi Arabia’s second-largest lender by assets, reported a 32.8% rise in first-quarter net profit yesterday, beating analyst forecasts as it cut wage costs and fee income increased.
The bank made a profit of 2.02bn riyals ($538.7mn) in the three months to March 31, up from 1.52bn riyals in the same period a year earlier, it said in a bourse statement.
Six analysts surveyed by Reuters had on average forecast the bank’s quarterly profit would be 1.84bn riyals.
Al Rajhi said its profit rise was mainly due to higher fee income and increased financing and investment income. Total operating expenses also fell by 11.9% because of a reduced wage bill and lower general costs, it said.
Quarterly operating income rose 8% versus the corresponding period of 2015 to 3.7bn riyals, while profit from special commissions increased 4.5% over the same timeframe to 2.57bn riyals.
Loans and advances at the end of March stood at 216.4bn riyals, up 5.5% on the same point of 2015, while deposits dipped 1.4% to 264.8bn riyals over the same period.
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