NCB and Samba Financial Group report increase in profits

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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NCB Saudi Arabia
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Saudi Arabia’s biggest lender National Commercial Bank reported a 2.1 percent growth in quarterly profit despite higher allocations while Samba Financial Group stunned with lower allocations.

National Commercial Bank’s Net profit grew to SR2.83 billion for the quarter to March 31. That exceeded the SR2.4 billion anticipated by EFG Hermes analysts but fell short of the SR3.28 billion projected by FAB Securities.

NCB said that its operating income grew by 7.2 percent largely on higher net special commission income which for Islamic lenders is equivalent to net interest income. Its net impairment charges for expected credit losses grew to SR396 million from SR145 million a year earlier. NCB’s investment-related income, fees from banking and services and foreign exchange income also rose.

Samba Financial Group

Samba Financial Group (SFG) announced a 19.6 percent rise in first-quarter net profit to SR1.27 billion. That surpassed the SR889 million projection by EFG Hermes analysts who noted Samba reduced its provisions to SR225 million from SR321 million a year earlier. EFG had figured Samba’s provisions at SR328 million.

SFG said the increase was essentially due to an improvement in gains on fair value through other comprehensive income debt, exchange income and other operating income. “On the other hand total operating expenses increased mainly due to an increase in salaries and employee-related expenses, depreciation and other general and administrative expenses,” it said in a bourse filing.