Saudi SAMBA posts 2.1% rise in Q2 profit on debt gains, fee income

Net income from special commissions and financing & investments -- the closest measure to interest income - dropped 13.5% in the quarter

  
People wearing protective face masks are seen outside Samba bank as the government eases lockdown restrictions amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia June 3, 2020.

People wearing protective face masks are seen outside Samba bank as the government eases lockdown restrictions amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia June 3, 2020.

REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri

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: saeed.azhar.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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