RIYADH (Reuters) – Banque Saudi Fransi the fourth largest Saudi lender by market value, said first-quarter net profit fell nearly 22 percent as a tumbling stock market slashed brokerage commissions.
The bank made 690 million riyals ($184 million) in the first quarter of 2006, at the lower end of analysts’ expectations, compared with 882 million riyals in the year-earlier period.
Analysts in a Reuters survey last month forecast the bank would make a net profit of between 620 million riyals and 1,188 million riyals.
“The decline is due to the exceptional rise in the share brokerage activity during the first quarter of 2006 which has enabled the bank to post high earnings at that time,” the bank said in the statement.
The Saudi bourse rallied to record high at the end of February last year before losing half its value in the next three months. The Saudi benchmark fell 52.5 percent last year.
France’s Credit Agricole has a 31.1 percent stake in Fransi
The lender’s assets rose 16 percent to 85.3 billion riyals in the year to March 31, deposits increased 15 percent to 65.5 billion riyals and loans increased 15 percent to 51 billion riyals, the statement said.