Saudi British Bank (Sabb) has reported a 24.4 per cent rise in profits for the fourth quarter of 2012, with profit hitting SR815m compared with SR655m in the last quarter of 2011.

The bank said higher operating and lower expenses helped drive growth. Profit for 2012 was 12.2 per cent higher than 2011. Loans by the bank rose 13.3 per cent to SR96.1bn and customer deposits rose by 14.1 per cent, to SR120.4bn.

Saudi banks are benefiting from high levels of liquidity, although it has led to some intense competition to lend and driven down interest rates on deals.

Sabb is partly owned by the UK’s HSBC.