Bank Muscat Q3 net profit rises 10 pct; beats forecasts
* Q3 net profit 39.4 mln rials vs 35.8 mln rials yr-ago - Reuters
* 9-mnth net profit 102.5 mln rials vs 104.2 mln rials in 2012 (Adds detail, context)
DUBAI Oct 9 (Reuters) - Bank Muscat, Oman's largest lender, beat analysts' expectations with a 10.1 percent increase in its third-quarter net profit on Wednesday, Reuters calculations show.
The bank made a quarterly profit of 39.4 million rials ($102.3 million) in the three months to Sept. 30, compared with 35.8 million rials in the prior-year period, Reuters calculated from the lender's previous financial statements.
Seven analysts polled by Reuters had, on average, estimated a third-quarter net profit of 37.8 million rials.
The lender posted a net profit of 102.5 million rials for the first nine months of the year, compared to 104.2 million rials in the prior-year period, it said in a statement to the Muscat bourse.
The slip in net profit for the first nine months of the year can be attributed to the 15 million rials impairment charge Bank Muscat was forced to take in the first quarter after it was caught up in one of the biggest cyber fraud cases in history.
Bank Muscat said it was "working on various channels to recover the loss arising from this exposure" and would update the market when it had any material developments - the same message given in their second-quarter earnings in July.
The amount was worth around 10.5 percent of Bank Muscat's estimated 2013 earnings, United Securities said in February.
However, the bank's healthy operating profit enabled it to absorb the loss with no significant impact on its financial metrics or risk profile, Fitch Ratings said in July, when it affirmed its A- rating.
The fraud targeted prepaid travel cards, which allow users to carry currencies abroad rather than using their debit or credit cards in foreign countries, which can be expensive.
Also impacting the nine-month earnings was a 2.6 percent year-on-year decrease in net interest income, although this was more than offset by a 16 percent hike in non-interest income over the same timeframe.
Provisions for the first nine months of 2013 totalled 26.4 million rials, down 35.4 percent from the prior-year period.
Loans and advances rose 7 percent year-on-year to 5.74 billion rials at the end of September compared to 5.36 billion rials at the same point last year, while deposits increased 11.5 percent over the same timeframe. ($1 = 0.3850 Omani rials) (Reporting by David French; Editing by Dinesh Nair)
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