October 30, 2017 / 5:45 AM / 24 days ago

Emirates NBD's Q3 profit rises 37 pct, ahead of two forecasts

DUBAI, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Emirates NBD (ENBD), Dubai’s largest lender, posted a 37 percent rise in third-quarter net profit on Monday as impairments tumbled and operating income rose.

The bank, the last major lender from the United Arab Emirates to report its earnings during the quarter, made a net profit of 2.28 billion dirhams ($620.78 million) in the three months to Sept. 30, a statement from the bank said, compared to 1.66 billion dirhams in the corresponding period of 2016.

That was ahead of the forecasts of two analysts. EFG Hermes expected the bank would make a net profit of 1.85 billion dirhams, while SICO Bahrain estimated 1.89 billion dirhams.

The bank, 55.6-percent owned by state fund Investment Corp., has benefited from an improvement in business sentiment and a recovery in banking liquidity after an initial hit caused by low oil prices.

Still, the profit rise was the steepest among the UAE banks to report earnings this quarter.

Investment in infrastructure and stronger activity in the Dubai economy meant the emirate’s economic growth in 2017 was likely to exceed ENBD’s forecast of 2 percent for expansion in the UAE’s overall economy, the bank said.

ENBD’s impairments stood at 431 million dirhams in the third quarter, 41 percent down from the same period of 2016.

Non-interest income rose 9 percent to 1.16 billion dirhams over the same period, while net interest income improved 10 percent to 2.81 billion dirhams.

The bank’s net interest margin reached 2.56 percent, compared to 2.44 percent in the same quarter of last year.

The bank said the contribution of both deposits and treasury had improved as the impact of higher funding costs eased.

It said it expected a further improvement in net interest margins next quarter as a result of recent rate rises and cheaper funding.

It raised its forecast for net interest margins for 2017 to between 2.45 and 2.50 percent.

$1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham Reporting By Tom Arnold; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath

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