DUBAI, Oct 7 (Reuters) - Riyad Bank, Saudi Arabia's third-largest lender by market value, posted a 18.8 percent rise in its third-quarter net profit on Monday due to higher operating income and lower expenses.
The bank said it made 998 million riyals ($266.1 million) in the three months ending September 30, compared with 840 million riyals in the same period a year earlier.
The figure beat the average forecast of ten analysts polled by Reuters, who expected a 957.4 million riyals net profit for the third quarter.
Operating income for the quarter rose by 4.3 percent to 1.74 billion riyals. No figure was given for the movement in operating expenses, although the bank said they fell.
Saudi companies issue brief earnings statements early in the reporting period before publishing more detailed filings later.
Net profit for the first nine months of 2013 was 2.92 billion riyals, up 9.8 percent from the 2.66 billion riyals in the corresponding period of 2012.
The kingdom's second largest branch network makes Riyad Bank well placed to benefit from expected growth of mortgage lending, although its net profit in the next 3-4 quarters may be restrained by higher provisioning, Global Investment House said in a report in June.
Customer deposits gained 14.3 percent from a year earlier and stood at 154.2 billion riyals on September 30. Loans and advances at the end of September stood at 129.9 billion riyals, up 12.7 percent on the same point of 2012. ($1 = 3.7501 Saudi riyals) (Reporting by David French; Writing by Mahmoud Habboush; Editing by Olzhas Auyezov)