NBK reports net profits of KD 227.9m for 9M 2015

NBK Chairman Nasser Al-Sayer
NBK Chairman Nasser Al-Sayer

KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) reported net profits of KD 227.9 million ($754.5 million) for the first nine months of 2015 compared with KD 203.9 million ($675.0 million) for the same period in 2014, growing 11.8 percent year-on-year.
Net profits for the 3Q 2015 reached KD 64.5 million ($213.6 million), a year-on-year increase of 9.1 percent.

Total assets as of end-September 2015 reached KD 23.8 billion ($78.7 billion) up 9.4 percent compared to September 2014, while total shareholders’ equity increased by 4.2 percent to KD 2.7 billion ($8.9 billion). Customer loans and advances reached KD 13.2 billion ($43.8 billion) as of end-September 2015, growing by 14.2 percent year-on-year, while customer deposits grew by 7.9 percent during the same period to reach KD 11.6 billion ($38.5 billion).

NBK continued to improve its asset quality ratios with NPL/Gross Loans ratio dropping to 1.41 percent as of end-September 2015 down from 1.45 percent a year earlier, and NPL coverage ratio increasing to 301 percent, up from 275 percent in September 2014.

Solid growth
Nasser Al-Sayer, NBK’s Chairman, said “NBK remains on track to deliver solid growth and healthy performance in 2015. Net profits in 9M 2015 reached KD 227.9 million, 11.8 percent year-on-year growth. This is a testimony to NBK’s strong financial position, its market leadership and successful strategy”.

Al-Sayer added that the solid results of the 9M 2015 reflect the Group’s focus on core banking businesses. During the 9M 2015, net operating income grew by 9.0 percent year-on-year to KD 544.1 million ($1,801 million) confirming NBK’s strong domestic and regional market positions. This solid operational performance is mainly attributed to the continued improvement in NBK’s main income drivers where net interest income and fees and commissions income delivered strong year-on-year growth rates reaching 12.5 percent and 6.9 percent, respectively.

“The ongoing pickup in spending by the Kuwaiti government on mega projects created growth opportunities for the banking industry generally and for NBK specifically. NBK is very well positioned to continue benefiting from such growth opportunities due to its leadership in trade and project finance and the size of its balance sheet relative to peers, ” Al-Sayer added.

Al-Sayer also highlighted that “the concern that declining oil prices would negatively affect regional economic growth has largely been counterbalanced in Kuwait as the Government validated its intentions to maintain capital spending and to continue investing in infrastructure projects. Additionally, the low debt levels with easy access to debt markets, and the healthy sovereign reserves are comforting buffers for the government if low oil prices are here to last.”

Strategic direction
Isam Al-Sager, NBK’s Group Chief Executive Officer reaffirmed NBK’s strategic direction as a leading bank in Kuwait and the region with the aim to further diversify its income sources. “In Kuwait, the bank continued to strengthen its market position, delivering strong growth among all business lines. Additionally, the increase in NBK’s stake to 58.4 percent in Boubyan Bank in 2012 remains a differentiator for NBK’s operations in Kuwait and Boubyan continues to offer strong growth outlook for the Group.”

“Regionally, NBK’s strategy remains focused on growing its operations in the MENA region with a special focus on the GCC markets, where strong economic fundamentals and more political stability are present. Aside from the GCC, business sentiment in Egypt continued to improve against a backdrop of political and economic stability. Our operations in Egypt remain strategic for the group as one of the most important markets in the region offering a significant growth opportunity”, Al-Sager highlighted.

Following the implementation of Basel 3 in Kuwait, NBK boosted its capital base through issuing $700 million Additional Tier-1 (AT-1) bonds at a rate of 5.75 percent. “The transaction was the first investment grade-rated issue of its kind in the Middle East, highlighting the underlying credit strength of NBK. Demand for the issuance was such that the order book was in excess of $1.4 billion in 6 days” says Al-Sager. “Moreover, we are considering issuing Tier 2 subordinated bonds worth up to KD 125 million. The issuance would be used to boost NBK’s capital as per Basel III requirements and the directives of the Central Bank of Kuwait” Al-Sager added.

NBK continues to enjoy collectively the highest ratings among all banks in the Middle East from the three international rating agencies Moody’s, Fitch Ratings and Standard and Poor’s. The Bank’s ratings are supported by its high capitalization, prudent lending policies, and its disciplined approach to risk management, in addition to its highly recognized and very stable management team. NBK was also named among Global Finance’s list of the 50 safest banks in the world for the tenth consecutive time.

NBK enjoys the widest banking presence with a local and international network reaching 4 continents. NBK’s international presence spans many of the world’s leading financial centers including New York, Europe, GCC, Middle East, Singapore as well as China (Shanghai).

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