DUBAI Jan 22 Bank Dhofar, the Omani
lender in talks to merge with smaller rival Bank Sohar
, beat analysts' estimates as it posted a 3.6 percent
rise in fourth-quarter net profit on Wednesday.
Oman's second-largest bank by market value made a net profit
of 9.3 million rials ($24.2 million) in the three months to Dec.
31 compared with a profit of 9.02 million rials in the
prior-year period, Reuters calculated from previous financial
Two analysts polled by Reuters had estimated a quarterly
profit of 8.32 million rials and 8.76 million rials
Reuters calculated fourth-quarter profit from previous
financial statements. Full-year profit for 2013 was reported as
58.4 million rials, according to a statement to the bourse, much
higher than the 37.7 million rials the bank made in 2012.
The annual profit hike was fuelled by Oman's Primary Court
returning 26.1 million rials to Bank Dhofar in March after the
country's appeals court overturned a judgement relating to a
2011 case involving Oman International Bank and Ali Redha
Trading and Muttrah Holding over the ownership of 1,925,000 Bank
Net loans and advances grew 13.7 percent to 1.9 billion
rials from 1.67 billion rials at the end of 2012. Deposits were
also up over the same period, rising 24.3 percent year-on-year
to 2.03 billion rials.
In July, Bank Dhofar said it had approached Bank Sohar with
a view to merging the two entities and creating Oman's
second-largest bank, with the latter saying it would consider
The new entity would have total assets worth 4.49 billion
rials, based on fourth-quarter financial statements.
Bank Sohar reported a 20.5 percent advance in fourth-quarter
net profit on Tuesday.
($1 = 0.3850 Omani rials)
(Reporting by David French; Editing by Dinesh Nair)