April 12, 2017 / 1:16 PM / 3 months ago

Banque Saudi Fransi Q1 net profit rises 2.4 pct, beating forecasts

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DUBAI, April 12 (Reuters) - Banque Saudi Fransi, a lender part-owned by Credit Agricole, posted a 2.4 percent rise in first-quarter net profit on Wednesday, beating analysts' forecasts as operating income and special commission income both rose.

The bank, the fifth-largest by assets in the kingdom, made a profit of about 1.10 billion riyals ($293.3 million) in the three months ending March 31, compared with 1.08 billion riyals in the same period a year earlier, it said in a bourse statement.

Three analysts surveyed by Reuters had on average forecast the bank would make a quarterly profit of 949.2 million riyals.

Banque Saudi Fransi attributed its improved earnings performance in the quarter to a 3.2 percent rise in total operating income as income from net special commission, trading and gains and non-trading investments went up.

Earlier on Wednesday, Saudi British Bank (SABB), the kingdom's sixth-largest lender by assets, posted a 9.3 percent drop in first-quarter net profit, meeting analysts' forecasts as operating expenses rose.

Credit Agricole has picked JPMorgan to advise it on a potential sale of its 31 percent stake in Banque Saudi Fransi, valued at nearly $2.4 billion, sources familiar with the deal told Reuters last month. ($1 = 3.7502 riyals) (Reporting By Tom Arnold; editing by Saeed Azhar)

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