DUBAI, April 14 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's Riyad Bank posted a 21.6 rise in net profit in the first quarter, beating forecasts on higher operating income.
The kingdom's third-largest lender by market value made 901 million riyals ($240.3 million) in the three months to end-March, up from 741 million riyals in the year-earlier period, the firm said in a bourse statement on Saturday.
Analysts polled by Reuters had estimated average earnings of 843.9 million riyals.
"The increase in the bank's profitability in comparison to the same period of 2011, is mainly attributed to the increase of operating income," the statement said, showing a 9.4 percent rise in operating income to 1.67 billion riyals.
Loans and advances rose 4 percent to 113.7 billion riyals, while customer deposits increased 4.8 percent to 139.5 billion riyals, the statement added. ($1 = 3.7502 Saudi riyals)
(Reporting by Amena Bakr; Editing by Firouz Sedarat)