Qatar National Bank (QNB), the Gulf’s second-largest lender by market capitalisation, posted a 25 per cent year-on-year increase in first quarter profit on the back of increased lending and returns from its Islamic operations.

Net profit in the first quarter rose to QR1.27bn ($349m), compared to QR1bn in the same period in 2009, as loans, advances and financing activities increased by 44 per cent, while profit from Islamic operations surged by 119 per cent to QR93m.

QNB’s assets increased 30 per cent to QR183.2bn, while provisions for loan losses rose to QR92.3m from QR3.4m. Meanwhile, QNB’s earnings per share rose to QR3.2 from QR2.6 a year earlier.

Bank loans in Qatar increased 9 per cent and deposits rose 8 per cent during the first two months of the year, according to statistics from the Qatar Central Bank.