UPDATE 1-Saudi's Al Rajhi Bank posts small Q4 net profit rise

Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:34am EST

Related Topics

* Q4 net profit 1.91 bln riyals vs 1.90 bln riyals in 2011

* Misses analysts' average forecast of 1.96 bln riyals

* 2012 net profit 7.89 bln riyals, up 7 pct on 2011

* Cash dividend of 2 riyals per share (Adds detail, context)

DUBAI, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Al Rajhi Bank, Saudi Arabia's largest listed lender, posted a small rise in fourth-quarter net profit on Wednesday, coming in slightly below the average forecast of analysts.

The bank made 1.91 billion riyals ($509 million) in the three months ended December, compared with 1.90 billion riyals in the same period the year earlier, the bank said in a bourse filing, equivalent to a 0.6 percent rise year-on-year.

Analysts surveyed by Reuters expected the bank to post 1.96 billion riyals for the fourth quarter.

Al Rajhi attributed the rise in quarterly profit to higher operating income, which rose 5 percent on the same three-month period of 2011 to 3.49 billion riyals.

Full-year profit for 2012 was recorded as 7.89 billion riyals, a 7 percent increase on 2011's 7.38 billion riyals.

Total lending at the end of 2012 stood at 172 billion riyals, a 23 percent jump on the same point of 2011, while deposits rose 24 percent over the same timeframe to 221 billion.

Saudi banks have enjoyed successive years of expansionary government budgets, ample liquidity and improving corporate loan demand.

In a separate bourse statement, Al Rajhi said it would pay a cash dividend of 2 riyals per share for the second half of 2012, which represents 20 percent of a share's nominal value.

($1 = 3.7503 Saudi riyals) (Reporting by David French; Editing by Mark Potter)

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