April 16, 2017 / 1:00 PM / 4 months ago

Saudi's Riyad Bank reports 10.8 pct profit fall but beats forecasts

DUBAI, April 16 (Reuters) - Riyad Bank reported a 10.8 percent fall in first-quarter net profit on higher impairment charges but Saudi Arabia's fourth-largest lender by assets still beat analysts' forecasts.

Net profit fell to 1.05 billion riyals ($280 million) in the three months to March 31 from 1.17 billion a year earlier, it said in a bourse filing.

Three analysts polled by Reuters had on average forecast a profit of 876.5 million riyals.

Riyad has reported flat or lower profits in seven of the last eight quarters.

The bank cited a 15.6 percent rise in operating expenses for the fall, mainly due to higher impairment charges for credit losses.

Saudi companies issue brief earnings statements early in the reporting period before publishing more detailed results.

Operating income for the quarter rose by 0.3 percent to 1.99 billion riyals, while profits from special commissions increased by 12.5 percent to 1.43 billion riyals.

Loans and advances at the end of March stood at 140.92 billion riyals, down 7.6 percent, while deposits were down 7.0 percent to 154.2 billion riyals.

$1 = 3.7502 riyals Reporting by Tom Arnold; editing by Jason Neely

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