* Q4 net profit 1.01 bln riyals vs 869 mln
* Cites rise in operating earnings
* 2013 net profit 4.51 bln riyals vs 4.33 bln
* Loans up 10.6 pct in 2013, deposits up 6.5 pct (Adds detail, context)
DUBAI, Jan 15 Samba Financial Group, Saudi Arabia's second-largest listed bank by assets, said its fourth-quarter net profit rose 15.8 percent year-on-year, coming in slightly below analysts' expectations.
The bank said in a bourse filing on Wednesday that it made 1.01 billion riyals ($269 million) in the three months to Dec. 31, compared to 869 million riyals in the same period of 2012.
Nine analysts surveyed by Reuters had forecast it would, on average, post a net profit for the quarter of 1.08 billion riyals.
Samba attributed the profit rise to an increase in operating income, which advanced 9.9 percent year-on-year to 1.6 billion riyals; it did not elaborate.
Saudi firms issue brief earnings statements early in the reporting period before publishing more detailed results later.
The quarterly results pushed up full-year 2013 earnings after three flat quarters, with net profit advancing 4.1 percent on the previous year to 4.51 billion riyals.
Saudi Arabian banks are benefiting from a positive economic climate, as years of high oil prices and government surpluses have pushed state spending to record levels - the kingdom's budget for 2014, while the smallest increase for a decade, is still another record amount.
Samba's loans portfolio climbed 10.6 percent year-on-year to 113.5 billion riyals at the end of 2013. Deposits grew 6.5 percent to 158.3 billion riyals.
The bank said late last month that its board had recommended a cash dividend of 0.85 riyals per share for the second half of 2013, in line with the dividend for the corresponding period of 2012. ($1 = 3.7504 Saudi riyals) (Reporting by David French; Editing by Andrew Torchia)