February 2, 2020 / 1:22 PM / 25 days ago

Saudi lender Samba posts 30% rise in 2019 net profit

DUBAI, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Saudi lender Samba Financial Group on Sunday posted a 30% rise in annual net profit, helped by a lower charge for an Islamic tax and a double-digit rise in revenue from special commissions, financing and investments.

Samba said in a bourse filing its 2019 net profit was 3.99 billion riyals, up from 3.06 billion riyals a year earlier.

Analysts had forecast the bank would make a net profit averaging 4.3 billion riyals, according to Refinitiv data.

Samba’s fourth-quarter net profit was 764 million riyals, compared to a net loss of 586 million riyals a year earlier, according to Reuters calculations in the absence of a quarterly breakdown.

The fourth-quarter net profit was well below the average analysts’ forecast of 1.11 billion riyals.

Saudi banks are benefiting from an increase in mortgages and lending for state-backed projects.

Rating agency S&P said credit losses in Saudi Arabia are set to stabilise this year, aided by the steadying economy and mortgage-led lending growth. (Reporting by Saeed Azhar, editing by Davide Barbuscia)

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