* Q4 net profit 1.03 bln riyals vs 810 mln yr-ago -
* 2013 net profit 3.95 bln riyals vs 3.47 bln in 2012
* Higher income, lower expenses cited for profit hikes
RIYADH, Jan 8 Riyad Bank, Saudi
Arabia's third-largest lender by assets, posted a 27.2 percent
jump in its fourth-quarter net profit on Wednesday, beating
forecasts as income rose and expenses declined.
The bank said in a bourse filing it made 1.03 billion riyals
($274.6 million) in the three months ending Dec. 31, compared
with 810 million riyals in the same period of 2012.
Analysts surveyed by Reuters expected the bank to post an
average net profit of 954.3 million riyals for the fourth
Riyad Bank said the year-on-year improvement was due to an
increase in operating income - which climbed 7.5 percent to
1.795 billion riyals - and a drop in expenses, without
Saudi companies issue brief earnings statements early in the
reporting period before publishing more detailed results later.
Net profit for the full year was 3.95 billion riyals, up
13.9 percent from 3.47 billion riyals in 2012. It cited the same
factors of higher operating income - up 4.2 percent in 2013
versus the previous year - and falling expenses for the rise in
Saudi banks have benefited from rising lending, deposits and
deal activity in an economy buoyed by years of high state
spending which is backed by strong oil prices and record
Many banks have been raising capital in recent months to
strengthen their reserves after a period of sustained lending
growth, with Riyad Bank completing a 4 billion riyal
capital-boosting Islamic bond issue in November.
Loans and advances at the end of 2013 stood at 131.2 billion
riyals, up 11.7 percent on the same point of 2012.
Customer deposits gained 4.8 percent from a year earlier and
stood at 153.2 billion riyals on December 31.
The bank said Jan. 7 its board had recommended a cash
dividend of 0.8 riyals for the second half of 2013. This was
higher than the 0.65 riyals it paid for the same period of 2012.
($1 = 3.7505 Saudi riyals)
(Reporting by Angus McDowall; Editing by David French)