January 29, 2020 / 6:55 AM / 22 days ago

Saudi lender NCB posts 18.8% rise in 2019 net profit

DUBAI, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s biggest lender National Commercial Bank reported an 18.8% rise in 2019 net profit, helped by increased revenue from special commissions and financing, and lower operating expenses.

NCB’s 2019 net profit was 11.4 billion riyals, up from 9.59 billion riyals in the same period a year earlier.

The profit was above the 10.3 billion riyals average net profit forecast of analysts polled by Refintiv.

The bank said total operating income was up 8.9% due to an increase in net special commission income, investment-related income and lower operating expenses.

Saudi banks have been benefiting from an increase in lending to state-backed projects and mortgages, as the non-oil economy shows signs of recovery.

The government expects real GDP growth at 2.3% in 2020, up from 0.4% in 2019. (Reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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