UPDATE 1-Qatar CBQ Q3 net profit down slightly; beats forecasts
* Q3 net profit 548 mln riyals vs 552 mln yr-ago
* Profit from financial investments surges to 120.4 mln riyals
* Results beat average analysts forecasts
DOHA, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Commercial Bank of Qatar (CBQ) surpassed analysts' expectations for the third-quarter despite reporting a slight dip in net profit as gains from financial investments off-set a drop in fee and commission income.
The Gulf Arab state's third-largest lender by market value earned 548 million riyals ($150.5 million) for the third-quarter, compared with 552 million riyals a year earlier, a company statement said on Monday.
Analysts had forecast average quarterly profit of 503.2 million riyals, according to a Reuters poll.
The lender's 9-month net profit rose 4 percent to 1.57 billion riyals, the statement said.
Profit from financial investments for the quarter was 120.4 million riyals compared with 19.5 million riyals for the year-ago period. On the other hand, fee and commission income dropped to 172.2 million riyals from 201.4 million riyals from the year earlier.
"For the remainder of 2012, we will continue to focus on growing our domestic corporate and retail businesses, developing the strength of our regional alliance and delivering solid returns to our shareholders," Group Chief Executive Andrew Stevens said in the statement.
Banks in Qatar are expected to benefit from heavy state spending on infrastructure as the world's fastest growing economy prepares to host the 2022 World Cup.
A senior Standard & Poor's executive said in July that Qatari lenders should rely less on deposits and issue more debt and Islamic bonds to raise capital to fuel the country's growth.
Earlier in the month Qatar National Bank posted an 10.5 percent jump in quarterly profit. QNB is the first major regional lender to report earnings and is closely watched for an indication of the sector's performance.
In April CBQ launched a $500 million five-year bond. It also signed a $455 million term loan with a club of seven regional and international banks, with the cash to be used for general corporate purposes, the bank said, without giving further detail on tenor or pricing.
Shares in CBQ closed up 0.1 percent Monday on the Doha bourse. They have fallen 13.2 percent year-to-date. (Reporting By Regan Doherty, Editing by Dinesh Nair)
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