NBK reports net profit of USD 790 million for the first nine months of 2007
National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), the largest Kuwaiti bank and the highest-rated bank in the Middle East, reported a record net profit of USD 790 million (KD 220.5 million) during the first nine months of 2007 compared to USD 681 million for the same period last year. The Bank’s profitability ratios remained on a par with the highest international benchmarks, reflected in a 3.33% return on average assets and 32.2% return on equity.
Commenting on the results, Ibrahim Dabdoub, Chief Executive Officer of NBK, said, "We are pleased with our strong financial results and the robust organic growth achieved across all business lines, both domestically and across the region. The breadth and diversity of our revenue sources have been key factors in maintaining our growth momentum and providing a solid base for the consistent rise in our profitability since our inception."
"We are especially proud that our performance is driven by growth in our core operations and business activities, even as we maintain our discipline in managing risks and continue to invest in people, technology, and regional expansion. The investments we are making should provide us with the economies of skills and scope to maintain our leading position in the local market and across the region. These will also support our ability to offer ever-more sophisticated products and services tailored to meet the diverse needs of various customer segments.”
Commenting on the bank's strategy to grow regionally, Dabdoub said, “These are good times in the GCC and the Middle East region in general, with a very favorable economic environment that offers significant opportunities, not only for organic growth, but also to pursue our regional expansion strategy. Indeed, we've had a very active quarter and year on the regional front. We have recently concluded two major deals: the acquisition of a controlling share in Egypt’s Al Watany Bank as well as a 40% stake in Turkish Bank. We have also received a branch license in the UAE, and expect to set up operations there soon.” Dabdoub also added that “we are quite confident that these new markets will start delivering positive returns as early as next year.”
NBK’s recent acquisitions complement its wide presence in domestic, regional, and international markets. The bank operates 63 branches in Kuwait - by far the largest domestic network - and has plans to continue expanding its network in coming years. Regionally, the bank is adding to an established presence in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Iraq, Bahrain, and Lebanon, and an international network covering New York, London, Paris, Geneva, Singapore, Vietnam and Shanghai, which give it an edge over regional competitors. The Group's investment banking arm, NBK Capital, is also present in Turkey and Dubai, as well as in Kuwait.
NBK's long-term foreign currency deposit rating was upgraded by Moody’s in July 2007 to Aa2 from Aa3, reflecting the bank’s successful expansion strategy and strong financial performance. NBK has obtained the highest stand-alone credit rating of any bank in the region from Moody's, Standard & Poor's, and Fitch Ratings. The bank’s solid position is supported by its high capitalization, prudent lending policies and a systematic approach to risk management, in addition to its widely-recognized management stability and excellence.
NBK's total assets reached USD 35 billion at the end of September 2007, while its shareholders' equity stood at USD 4.4 billion.
© 2007 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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