Saudi Arabia’s Banque Saudi Fransi has posted a 25 per cent increase in net profit for the first three months of 2014 compared to the same quarter in 2013, with net profit hitting SR856m ($228m).

Total operating income grew by 16 per cent in the first quarter compared to the first quarter in 2013 to reach SR1.4bn.

The bank’s loan and advances portfolio amounted to SR114.8bn in the first quarter, an increase of 8.52 per cent compared to the same period last year. Deposits grew at a faster rate of 15.6 per cent reaching SR137.9bn.

The bank puts the rise in profits down to an increase in total operating income and improved margins.

The bank’s first quarter results are an improvement on the decline in net profits recorded last year.

In 2013 the bank recorded a profit of SR2.4bn compared to SR3bn in 2012. The decline was due to higher provisioning carried out by the bank.

Despite the decline in profit, the bank still recorded an 8 per cent increase in its loans and advances portfolio last year compared to 2012.