Bad loans prove a drag on Saudi bank profits
Samba, the country’s second largest bank, said its fourth-quarter net profit last year rose by just 1.1 per cent to SAR 835 million ($222.7 million) from the same period a year earlier on the back of growth in its core banking activities. The result was way below the SAR 1.072 billion ($286 million) that analysts at Shuaa Capital had forecast, however. Earnings per share for the year rose to SAR 5.1 ($1.36) from SAR 4.9 ($1.30) in 2008, the company said in a statement on the Saudi bourse website. Samba said its loans portfolio dropped by 14 per cent by the end of last year to SAR 84 billion ($22.4 billion), while deposits rose 10 per cent to SAR 147 billion ($39 billion).