Qatar National Bank (QNB), the Gulf state's largest lender by market capitalisation, posted a 40.2 per cent jump in fourth-quarter earnings, beating analyst expectations as financing and interest income soared.
The lender said in a statement that annual net profit jumped 35.8 per cent to 5.7 billion riyals ($1.57 billion) in 2010.
Fourth-quarter net profit was 1.5 billion riyals, Reuters calculated, compared with 1.07 billion riyals a year earlier.
Analysts polled by Reuters expected an average quarterly profit of 1.29 billion riyals.
Net interest income and income from financing activities climbed 52.3 per cent, while operating income increased 34.5 per cent in the year, the statement said.
Earnings per share increased to 14.60 riyals compared with 10.70 riyals in 2009.
The board recommended paying a dividend of 5.0 riyals and three bonus shares for every 10 held, the statement said.
The board also recommended increasing the bank's capital 25 per cent after the bonus share distribution through a rights issue, in view of the lender's expansion at home and overseas, and to meet regulatory requirements and maintain its high rating, it added.
The ratio of non-performing loans rose to 0.9 per cent from 0.7 per cent in 2009, the statement said.
QNB is 50 per cent owned by sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and has been expanding abroad, with operations in Syria, Jordan, the UAE and Switzerland.
It was the first major regional lender to report earnings and is closely watched for indications of the sector's performance. The bank's five-year $1.5 billion bond was nearly four times oversubscribed in November.
The bank posted a net profit of 4.2 billion riyals for the first nine months of the year, it said in a statement in October.
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