National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), the largest Kuwaiti bank and the highest-rated in the Middle East, reported net profits of USD 499.3 million (KD 145.2 million) for the first half of 2010 compared with USD 433.4 million (KD 126.1) for the same period in 2009, an increase of 15%.
As of end June 2010, NBK Group's total assets reached USD 43.1 billion (KD 12.5 billion), whilst total shareholders' equity reached USD 6.4 billion (KD 1.9 billion). Profitability indicators remained strong with ROA reaching 2.3% and ROE 17.1%.
Ibrahim Dabdoub, NBK's Group Chief Executive Officer, said "The 15% net profit growth recorded by NBK in the first half of 2010 adds to the bank's achievements and its long record of weathering different crises. NBK's profit generation capacity remained very strong despite the ongoing consequences of the global financial crisis, sovereign debt distress in Europe and the low interest rate environment". Dabdoub added that the growth achieved reflects NBK's strong financial standing and validates the bank's ability to continue generating high returns to shareholders through core business activities inside and outside Kuwait.
Dabdoub attributed NBK's strong performance to its conservative strategy, sound risk management, strong corporate governance and stable management team. These attributes, along with NBK's clear strategic vision, helped the bank to maintain its strong financial position through different crises and earn international recognition, the latest being the "Best Bank in the Middle East" award for 2010 from Euromoney magazine, as well as being ranked as the safest bank in the Middle East for the past two years.
NBK's regional expansion strategy continues to pay off. "With net profit contribution in excess of 22%, NBK's regional and international operations continue to be very successful, especially in Egypt and Qatar," highlighted Dabdoub. The Bank's successful move into the Islamic banking space through the acquisition of a strategic stake in Boubyan Bank should further enhance NBK's domestic market position.
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.