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National Bank's nine-month profit doubles

KARACHI (October 30 2003): The profit of National Bank of Pakistan Ltd, the country's largest lender by assets, rose twofold in the nine months ending on September 30, 2003, helped by returns on stock market investments and cut in tax rates, analysts said.

The net profit of NBP rose to Rs 3.29 billion ($ 57 million), from Rs 1.66 billion in the same period a year earlier, the company said in an announcement to Karachi Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

To spur lending and boost the economy, the government has cut the tax rate on bank profits to 44 percent from 47 percent in the fiscal year started from July 1, 2003, lifting National Bank of Pakistan's income, an analyst said.

Earnings rose as the bank sold shares, increasing the volume of capital gains during the period as the benchmark Karachi Stock Exchange index touched record high, a dealer said.

The Karachi Stock Exchange Index of 100 shares had risen almost 60 percent since the start of the year, making it the second world's best performing index, after Brazil.

The Privatisation Commission, the authority in charge of asset sales, last week sold 3.2 percent of National Bank shares through Karachi Stock Exchange. It had sold 20 percent of the lender's shares last year.

The bank's share fell 1.50 rupees, or 3.3 percent, to 43.50 rupees at the close of Karachi Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

The following table is in millions of rupees.

=============================================                     2003       2002    Change                   Jan-Sept   Jan-Sept     (%) --------------------------------------------- Total Revenue      14,155     11,361       25 Admin Expenses      6,502      5,711       14 Profit before tax   5,526      3,817       45 Profit after tax    3,295      1,664       98 =============================================

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