National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), the largest Kuwaiti bank and the highest-rated in the Middle East, announced net profits of USD 309 million (KD 82 million) during the first three months of 2008 compared to USD 241 million (KD 64 million) for the same period last year, an increase of 28%. Operating income increased by 30% to USD 505.7 million (KD 134.3 million). The Bank reported a return on average assets of 2.87% and a return on average equity of 21.7%.Ibrahim S. Dabdoub, NBK’s Group Chief Executive Officer, said, “Following last year’s outstanding performance, the strong results of the first quarter reflect continued growth in all lines of business and the strength of our operations and franchise. They also confirm the merits of our growth strategies emphasizing regional expansion as well as superior product development and delivery.”Commenting on NBK’s strategy for regional expansion, Dabdoub stated, “We recently redoubled our efforts to transform the bank into a truly regional player by concluding several significant deals, namely the acquisition of Al Watany Bank of Egypt, the acquisition of a 40% stake in Turkish Bank and the increase of our ownership stake to 30% in the International Bank of Qatar. We are already seeing the fruits of these investments in terms of increased growth in our profitability and reach. This enhances the likelihood of improved returns in the near future as the harnessing of synergies between our established positions and those newly acquired come into play.”“On another front, customer service and satisfaction remain at the core of our interests. We always aim to be the first to identify the emerging needs of our growing customer base and to cater for these needs with the most innovative banking solutions.” added Dabdoub.Today, NBK enjoys the largest presence in Kuwait with 65 branches, as well as a growing international representation in many of the world financial centers such as London, Paris, New York and Singapore, as well as in China (Shanghai) and Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City). The new acquisitions in Egypt and Turkey follow on the heels of NBK’s entry into Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Iraq. Together with an established presence in Bahrain and Lebanon, these new markets position NBK as a leading regional player. The Bank also enjoys added coverage in the Kuwaiti, Turkish, and Dubai markets through its investment arm, NBK Capital.In 2007 NBK’s long-term credit rating was upgraded by Moody’s to Aa2 from Aa3, and by Standard and Poor’s to A+ from A, a reflection of the Bank’s strong financial position and long term positive outlook. This further consolidated the strong reputation NBK has enjoyed over the years, having been consistently awarded the highest credit rating of all banks in the region and emerging markets from Moody's, Standard & Poor's, and Fitch Ratings. The Bank’s rating is supported by its high capitalization, prudent lending policies and its systematic approach to risk management, in addition to the recognized excellence of its very stable management.NBK's total assets were USD 43 billion (KD 11.5 billion) at the end of the first quarter, whilst shareholder equity was USD 5.8 billion (KD 1.5 billion).
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About National Bank of Kuwait (NBK):NBK was founded in 1952 as the first indigenous bank and the first joint stock company in Kuwait and the Gulf Region. It is by far the largest financial institution in Kuwait with effective market dominance in the commercial banking market. NBK stands out in Kuwait and among Arab banks in terms of its local and international network, which includes branches, subsidiaries and representative offices in New York, London, Paris, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Singapore, Vietnam, and China, with other ambitious plans for regional and global expansion. NBK reported profits of USD 1 billion for 2007, among the highest in the Arab world.