* Q1 net up 8.5 pct at 548 mln riyals vs f‘cast 468.5 mln
* Impariment provisions drop to 59.3 mln vs 69.5 mln (Adds details)
DUBAI, April 29 (Reuters) - Commercial Bank of Qatar (CBQ) , the Gulf Arab state’s second-largest lender by assets, posted an 8.5 percent increase in first-quarter profit on higher lending growth.
The bank earned a net profit of 548 million riyals ($150.5 million) for the opening three months of 2014, compared with 506 million in the same period last year, it said in a statement.
Analysts had on average forecast a quarterly profit of 468.5 million riyals, according to a Reuters poll.
The bank, which bought Turkish lender Alternatifbank last year, had previously reported three successive quarters of declining profits as higher provisioning dragged down earnings.
The bank’s provisions for impairment losses in the first three months of 2014 dropped to 59.3 million riyals against 69.5 million in the same period in 2013.
Loans and advances stood at 68.7 billion riyals at the end of March, up 33.6 percent on the same point last year.
CBQ has been rapidly expanding its lending activities, as like other banks in the country it benefits from the huge sums being ploughed into the local economy by the government, which is spending billions of riyals on infrastructure development and preparations for hosting the 2022 soccer World Cup.
Deposits stood at 62.1 billion riyals on March 31, up 34.5 percent year-on-year. ($1 = 3.6409 Qatar Riyals) (Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Writing by Praveen Menon; Editing by Andrew Torchia and David Holmes)