Doha Bank, a Qatari lender, on Wednesday posted a better-than-expected 7.4 percent increase in first-quarter profit amid increased lending. Net income rose to QR390m ($107m) from QR363m a year earlier, according to an e-mailed statement. Global Investment House’s estimate was for a profit of QR321m, while Beltone Financial expected QR352m, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “The bank, given the scale of operations, has achieved a very high return on average assets,” Abdul Rehman Bin Mohammad Bin Jabor Al-Thani, managing director of Doha Bank, said in the statement. This is “a clear demonstration of the effective utilisation of shareholders’ funds and optimum asset-allocation strategies.” Qatari bank lending has outpaced deposits amid an upsurge in public-infrastructure spending on roads, a port, airport, gas and fertilizer projects. Credit facilities in March rose 32 percent from a year earlier and customer deposits gained 13 percent, central bank data show. The emirate, the biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, is the world’s richest country on a per capita basis, according to International Monetary Fund data. Doha Bank’s loans and advances rose 13 percent to QR29.5bn and customer deposits in the quarter and investment accounts increased 12 percent to QR31.4bn, the bank said.