Emirates NBD, Dubai's largest bank by market value, reported a first-quarter profit of Dh641 million ($174.51m), beating analysts forecasts, as a 50-per cent rise in non-interest income and lower impairments boosted profitability.
Two analysts polled by Reuters had expected the Dubai lender to make a net profit of Dh567.5m for the first three months of 2012.
However, first-quarter profit was 55 per cent lower than the prior-year period, which was bolstered by a one-off gain on the stake sale of Network International. But net profit more than tripled compared with the fourth quarter of 2011.
Non-interest income jumped nearly 50 per cent year-on-year to Dh909m in the first quarter, a company statement said, helped by a 17 per cent increase in core fee income from the first quarter of 2011.
Impairments fell to Dh1.1 billion in the quarter, from 1.4bn in the prior-year period, but slightly higher than the previous quarter due to specific provisions in the bank's corporate portfolio, as well as an increase in provision allowances.
Lending growth remained flat, while deposits grew 8 per cent from end-December.
The bank said it remained "cautious" in
outlook and the external environment remained challenging.