Standard & Poor’s raises NBK’s long-term credit rating to 'A+' on strong financials; outlook stable
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services (S&P) raised today its long-term credit rating on National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) to 'A+' from 'A'. At the same time, the 'A-1' short-term rating was affirmed and the outlook is stable. The upgrade reflects the bank's excellent track record of superior financial performance, amid economic momentum in the local market, as well as its unchallenged leading commercial position.
Mr. Ibrahim Dabdoub, CEO of NBK, commented on the rating upgrade saying that they “we take pride of the new upgrade by S&P which reflects our solid growth and lead position as the highest rated bank in the Middle East. We are pleased to see our strategic actions continue to yield positive results."
S&P said in a statement that the stable outlook reflects NBK's strong commercial and financial profile. Overall, NBK's preeminent domestic position is unmatched, enabling the bank to mitigate risks linked to the restricted playing field of the non-oil private sector and to maintain healthy operating profitability.
NBK is the largest bank in Kuwait, with total consolidated assets of $29.3 billion at March 31, 2007. It has a number one market share in retail banking and enjoys privileged access to most of the country's major corporations. The bank is looking to expand regionally, but we do not expect this expansion to significantly alter its risk profile, S&P added.
NBK has one of the best regional track records of high and sustained financial performance, with ROE in excess of 25% over the past decade. Profitability surged even higher in the past three years, benefiting from an efficient cost structure, expansion in retail banking and a very supportive economic environment.
© 2007 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)