DOHA, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Qatar National Bank (QNB), the Gulf Arab state’s largest lender, reported a 40 percent jump in quarterly profit on Monday on increased lending and a surge in deposits.
The bank’s fourth-quarter net profit rose to 2.1 billion riyals ($576.6 million), according to Reuters calculations, from 1.5 billion riyals a year earlier.
The lender said annual net profit jumped 32 percent to 7.5 billion riyals in 2011. It earlier reported a nine-month net profit of 5.4 billion riyals.
It set a 40 percent cash dividend and plans to issue bonus shares amounting to 10 percent of share capital, the bank said.
Loans and advances grew 47 percent to 194 billion riyals, with 21 percent growth in customer deposits during 2011, QNB said. Net interest income and income from Islamic financing activities rose 37 percent to 7.8 billion riyals.
QNB is the first major regional lender to report earnings and is closely watched for indications of the sector’s performance.
It is 50-percent owned by sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority and has been expanding abroad, with operations in Syria, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Switzerland.
In October, sources told Reuters that QNB was eyeing Denizbank, the fast-growing Turkish arm of euro zone debt casualty Dexia, in a deal potentially worth up to $6 billion.
Banks in Qatar are expected to benefit as the country is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, set to spend more on infrastructure as it prepares to host the 2022 World Cup.
Shares in QNB closed at 152.90 riyals on Monday before the results were announced. They have risen 8 percent in the last year.
$1=3.638 Qatari riyals Reporting By Regan Doherty, Editing by Erica Billingham