Business | Banking

Saudi banks increase loan loss provisions

Two large Saudi banks sharply increased provisions for loan losses during the second quarter, official data showed yesterday, amid concerns over the solvency of some debt-laden private Saudi firms.

  • Reuters
  • Published: 21:57 July 22, 2009
  • Gulf News

Riyadh: Two large Saudi banks sharply increased provisions for loan losses during the second quarter, official data showed yesterday, amid concerns over the solvency of some debt-laden private Saudi firms.

Banque Saudi Fransi booked 120 million Saudi riyals (Dh118 million) in provisions for loan losses during the second quarter, according to data released on the Saudi stock exchange.

Fransi's audited financial statements show it booked a little below 10 million riyals in provisions for loan losses in the same period of 2008, 46.1 million in the first quarter of 2009, and 287.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2008.

The Saudi affiliate of France's Calyon has posted a 10.6 per cent drop in second-quarter profit.

Samba Financial Group, the country's second-largest lender by market value, booked 97.3 million riyals in provisions for loan losses during the second quarter, against 37.8 million in the year-ago period, 203 million in the first quarter and 141.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2008. Samba posted a 1.6 per cent rise in second-quarter net profit.

The data published on the Saudi stock exchange did not say why these provisions have been made.

In recent weeks, several banks in the region have offered details on their exposure to Sa'ad and another Saudi family firm, Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi Group & Brothers (AHAB), which are facing a debt crisis.

Both firms are restructuring debt worth billions of dollars and a substantial chunk of it is owed to Saudi banks. Like the kingdom's central bank, Saudi banks refrained from making any statement about the two firms.

Earlier on Wednesday, Standard & Poor's said it found banks in Saudi Arabia and the UAE to account for almost two-thirds of the total net exposure in the GCC.

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