National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), the largest Kuwaiti bank and the highest-rated in the Middle East, reported net profits of USD 789 million (KD 225 million) for the first nine months of 2010 compared with USD 709 million (KD 202 million) for the same period in 2009, an increase of 11.4%.
As at the end of September 2010, NBK Group's total assets reached USD 44 billion (KD 12.5 billion), whilst total shareholders' equity reached USD 7 billion (KD 2.0 billion). Profitability indicators remained strong with ROA reaching 2.4% and ROE 17.6%.
Ibrahim Dabdoub, NBK's Group Chief Executive Officer, said "This is another impressive performance by NBK in a very challenging environment. NBK's profit generation capacity remained very strong as a result of the bank's conservative approach, which helped us weather several regional and international crises, each time to emerge in a strengthened market position". Dabdoub added that the 11.4% growth achieved in net profits reflects NBK's strong financial standing and validates the bank's ability to continue generating high returns to shareholders by focusing on its core business activities.
Dabdoub attributed NBK's consistently strong performance to its sound risk management, strong corporate governance, and stable management team. This has earned NBK international recognition, the most recent being ranked 38th in Global Finance's list of the world's 50 safest banks and also being the only Middle Eastern bank on the list for three consecutive times.
NBK's regional expansion strategy continued to pay off. "With our income sources becoming increasingly diversified, regional and international operations contributed more than 20% to the group's net profits so far this year. Whilst Egypt and Qatar remain our key markets and are performing very well, we expect further growth on the regional front and are pushing ahead with our plans to launch operations in Syria. We also remain keen to strengthen our position in Turkey", highlighted Dabdoub.
In the domestic market, NBK's successful move into the Islamic banking space through the acquisition of a strategic stake in Boubyan Bank should further enhance NBK's market position, especially with Boubyan's profits turning positive.
NBK continues to enjoy the widest banking presence in Kuwait with 71 branches, which together with its growing international representation add up to 177 branches worldwide. NBK's international presence spans many of the world's leading financial centers including London, Paris, Geneva, New York and Singapore, as well as China (Shanghai) and Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City). Meanwhile, the regional coverage extends to Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Turkey.
NBK has consistently been awarded the highest credit rating of all banks in the region by Moody's, Standard & Poor's, and Fitch Ratings. The Bank's ratings are supported by its high capitalization, prudent lending policies, and its disciplined approach to risk management, in addition to its recognized and very stable management team.