DUBAI, Oct 23 (Reuters) – The Saudi National Bank (1180.SE), the kingdom’s biggest lender, said on Sunday its third-quarter net profit rose 18.7% from the same period last week. prior year, thanks to higher operating profit and lower net impairments for expected credit losses.

The SNB posted a net profit of 4.725 billion riyals ($1.26 billion) in the quarter, up from 3.98 billion riyals a year earlier. This was below EFG Hermes’ estimate of 5.25 billion riyals.

Operating profit was 8.45 billion riyals, up 7.3% from 7.88 billion riyals a year earlier.

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Net impairment charges for expected credit losses amounted to 1.52 billion riyals, less than half of 3.43 billion riyals a year earlier.

“Total operating expenses, including depreciation, decreased by 11.5%, mainly due to lower personnel expenses, amortization of intangible assets, other general and administrative expenses and the net impairment charge for expected credit losses,” BNS said.

Earnings per share increased from 2.35 riyals to 3.02 riyals.

($1 = 3.7580 riyals)

(This story has been edited to correct a typographical error in the EFG Hermes name in the second paragraph)

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Reporting by Yousef Saba; Editing by William Mallard

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