DUBAI, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Commercial Bank of Qatar (CBQ), the Gulf Arab state’s third-largest lender by assets, reported a 99 percent fall in fourth-quarter net profit on Wednesday, according to Reuters calculations.
This meant it widely missed analysts forecasts as it was hit by provisions and weakness among its overseas investments.
The bank earned a net profit of 1.4 million riyals ($384,499) in the three months to Dec. 31, compared with a profit of 100.9 million riyals in the same period a year earlier, Reuters calculated based on financial statements in lieu of a quarterly breakdown.
The average of three analysts polled by Reuters had forecast CBQ would make a quarterly profit of 52.2 million riyals.
The results, which follow a third-quarter net loss and four prior quarters of falling profits, are the first since the launch of a five-year plan by new chief executive Joseph Abraham in November to try to turn around its performance.
The bank has struggled with a rise in bad loans due to the fallout of lower hydrocarbon prices on the wider economy, which has forced cutbacks in state and consumer spending, as well as the weaker performance of some of its overseas investments.
CBQ, which last year raised its stake in Turkey’s Alternatifbank to 100 percent and also holds shares in National Bank of Oman and United Arab Bank, reported annual 2016 net profit of 500.8 million riyals, down from 1.40 billion riyals the previous year.
It attributed the annual profit slump to a jump in provisions by roughly half to 1.27 billion riyals from 842 million riyals the year before.
The bank’s board recommended paying shareholders one bonus share for every 20 shares held. For 2015 it had recommended a cash dividend of 3 riyals per share. ($1 = 3.6411 Qatar riyals) (Reporting by Tom Arnold; Editing by Tom Heneghan)