Commercialbank, the largest private sector bank in Qatar, has reported a net profit of QR1,524m ($418.6m) for 2009, a 11.7 per cent decline from the QR1,702m ($467.5m) profit in 2008.

Despite the weakened performance for the year, the bank posted strong growth in the fourth quarter, with profits rising by 33 per cent to QR186m compared to the same period last year.

Total assets reduced by 7 per cent to QR57.3bn compared to QR61.5bn at the end of 2008, reflecting a reduction of QR8.7bn in interbank placements. 

Customer deposits decreased by 18 per cent to QR26.3bn from QR32.2bn at the end of 2008.

Loans and advances to customers were 6 per cent lower than 2008 at QR31.9bn, partly because of the sale of these and other exposures of QR3bn to the Qatari government in June 2009.

The Qatari banking sector was strongly supported during 2009 by the government which spent over $6bn buying local bank shares, and also bought up their under-performing real estate and local equity portfolios.

In December 2009, the bank received a second subscription of QR807m from the country’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority, which will increase its stake in the bank from its current 5 per cent to 9.1 per cent.