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By Regan Doherty
DOHA, April 11 (Reuters) - Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) , the Gulf state’s second-largest lender by market value, posted a 20.9 percent jump in first-quarter net profit, beating analysts’ forecasts, on increased fee income and growth in core business activities.
The bank made a net profit of 388 million riyals ($106.6 million), it said in a statement on Wednesday, exceeding the 321 million riyals it recorded a year earlier and above analysts’ average forecast of 351.5 million riyals.
Fee income grew 68.8 percent to 99.6 million riyals, the statement said, while operating income increased 19.9 percent to 777 million riyals.
Total assets grew 18.4 percent to 59 billion riyals. The bank’s investment portfolio grew 2.8 percent to 16.6 billion riyals, the statement added.
Banks in Qatar are expected to benefit as the country is one of the world’s fastest growing economies and is set to spend more on infrastructure as it prepares to host football’s 2022 World Cup.
Earlier this month, Qatar National Bank (QNB), the first major regional lender to report earnings and considered a bellwether for the sector’s performance, posted an 17.4 percent jump in fourth-quarter profit.
In December, QIB announced it would acquire the sharia-compliant corporate portfolio of International Bank of Qatar, without giving a value for the acquisition.
The move came after Qatar’s central bank directive that conventional banks stop offering sharia-compliant banking services amid worries of overlaps between the two.
“Our primary objective remains to enhance QIB’s position as the domestic leader in Islamic finance,” QIB Chairman Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al Thani said in the earnings statement.
QIB pulled out of a deal to buy a majority stake in Indonesian Islamic lender PT Bank Muamalat, banking sources said in July.
QIB shares traded at 77 riyals before the results were announced, down 8.2 percent year-to-date. The Qatar index has fallen 0.1 percent in that time.
$1=3.638 Qatari riyals Editing by David French