* Q4 net profit 815 mln riyals vs 655 mln riyals yr-ago -
* Beats average estimate of analysts
* 2012 net profit 3.24 bln riyals vs 2.89 bln riyals in 2011
DUBAI, Jan 14 Saudi British Bank
(SABB) posted a bigger than expected 24.4 percent rise in
fourth-quarter net profit, with its loans portfolio, customer
deposits and earnings from special commissions all rising over
Saudi Arabia's fourth-largest listed bank said in a bourse
filing on Monday it made 815 million riyals ($217.3 million) in
the last three months of 2012 compared to 655 million in the
last quarter of 2011. It cited higher operating income and a
decrease in operating expenses for the rise.
Total operating income in Q4 was 1.23 billion riyals, an
improvement of 9.5 percent over the same period of 2011.
Nine analysts surveyed by Reuters had forecast it would earn
a net profit of 771.7 million riyals.
Net profit for all of 2012 was 3.24 billion riyals, up 12.2
percent on 2011's 2.89 billion riyals.
Fourth quarter profit from special commissions, at 821
million riyals, grew 12.4 percent over the same three months of
2011. Full-year figures were up 8 percent over the previous
SABB's loans portfolio climbed 13.3 percent over the course
of 2012 to 96.1 billion riyals at the end of the year.
Customer deposits at the end of 2012 stood at 120.4 billion
riyals, up 14.1 percent on the same point of 2011, while total
assets increased 13 percent over the course of 2012 to 156.7
Saudi banks have enjoyed successive years of expansionary
government budgets, ample liquidity and improving corporate loan
($1 = 3.7505 Saudi riyals)
(Reporting by David French; Editing by William Maclean and