Bank Muscat reports 5% profit rise as interest income climbs

Net profit for the nine months to September 30 rose to 141.4 million rials

Muscat, Al Khuwayr, Oman. A typical landscape of Muscat, with rocky mountains just behind the city. Getty Images
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Bank Muscat, one of the biggest lenders in Oman, reported a 5 per cent year-on-year rise in its nine-month net profit as income from both conventional and Islamic financing grew.

Net profit for the nine-month period ending September 30 rose to 141.4 million Omani rials (Dh1.35 billion), the lender said in a statement to Muscat Stock Exchange, where its shares are traded.

Net interest income from conventional banking and income from Islamic financing stood at 238m Omani rials for the nine-month period, compared to 224.2m rials during the same period last year. Operating expenses for the reporting period jumped to 144.5m rials from 141.7 rials, a year ago, the bank said.

The lender did not report its quarterly income, but based on calculations net profit for the third quarter rose 6.2 per cent to 47.8m rials.

Meanwhile, Sohar International Bank also announced a 14.2 per cent year-on-year increase in net profit in the first nine months of 2019 to 25m rials. Operating income rose 6.3 per cent to 74m rials. Bank Nizwa reported a 54 per cent year-on-year rise in net profit for the nine-month period to 7m rials.

However, Bank Dhofar reported a 29 per cent decline in net profit to 25.9m rials, which was due in part to higher provisions taken for bad debts.

The outlook for banks in the Arabian Gulf remains stable, despite the threat of a worsening economic environment, ratings agency S&P Global said last week.

“In our view, GCC banks will successfully navigate a less-than-favourable macroeconomic environment in 2020 supported by their solid financial profiles,” S&P Global said at the time.