DUBAI- Saudi lender Samba Financial Group posted a 2.1% rise in quarterly profit, helped by fair-value gains on debt and higher fee and commission income, surviving a period marked by the coronavirus outbreak and weak interest rates.
SAMBA reported a net profit of 955 million riyals ($254.65 million) in the period ended June 30, compared to 935 million riyals in same period a year earlier.
Net income from special commissions and financing & investments -- the closest measure to interest income - dropped 13.5% in the quarter, as the economy suffered from lockdowns linked to the coronavirus outbreak.
The International Monetary Fund said June Saudi Arabia's economy, the largest in the Arab world, faces a 6.8% contraction this year.
Unlike SAMBA, rival lenders National Commercial Bank (NCB) and Al Rajhi Bank reported a drop in quarterly earnings.
NCB, the country's biggest bank, said in June it had signed an initial agreement with Samba to create a combined entity with almost $214 billion in assets.
($1 = 3.7503 riyals)
(Reporting by Saeed Azhar; editing by David Evans) ((Saeed.Azhar@thomsonreuters.com; +971 44536787; Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org))