Al-Sayer: NBK's solid YoY growth achieved in a globally challenging environment


NBK Group Chairman Nasser Al-Sayer and NBK's Group CEO Isam Al-Sager

KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) reported net profits of KD 93.6 million ($312.2 million) for the first quarter of 2018 compared with KD 85.4 million ($284.8 million) in 2017, growing 9.6 percent year-on-year.

Total assets as of end of March 2018 reached KD 26.8 billion ($89.4 billion) up 7.8 percent compared end of March 2017, while total shareholders' equity increased by 3.0 percent to KD 2.9 billion ($9.7 billion). Customer loans and advances reached KD 14.8 billion ($49.5 billion) as of end of March 2018, 5.6 percent up from last year's levels. Customer deposits grew by 8.6 percent year-on-year to reach KD 14.3 billion ($47.6 billion) as of end of March 2018.

Asset quality metrics remained strong with NPL/Gross Loans ratio at 1.38 percent as of end of March 2018, and NPL coverage ratio at 274 percent; reflecting NBK's resilient risk management approach.

Nasser Al-Sayer, NBK Group Chairman said "NBK recorded strong performance in 1Q 2018 demonstrating the resilience, quality and diversity of earnings in a globally challenging operating environment. The Group maintained its leadership in Kuwait while successfully strengthened synergies between its international operations to deliver an ultimate customer experience".

"The Group's net operating income grew by 9.2 percent year-on-year to KD 213.4 million ($712.1 million), reflecting healthy growth trends driven by all business lines and segments" Al Sayer added.

Al-Sayer also added that "Economic indicators remained positive in Kuwait as capital spending continued to be a key driver of economic activity for the domestic market. Kuwait's fiscal position is better than peers given the substantial buffers and strong sovereign ratings; creating room for acceleration in spending despite lower oil prices".

NBK's robust financial position, strong franchise, diversified business model in addition to its regional and global presence, has positioned the Bank as the country's foremost financial provider and the largest beneficiary of the growing government expenditure". "Additionally, and in line with our commitment to the economic development of Kuwait; NBK remains highly committed to its corporate social responsibly being consistently the largest contributor to the community year after year," Al-Sayer highlighted.

Isam Al-Sager, NBK's Group Chief Executive Officer said; "the solid results of NBK reflect a period of strong growth and robust operating performance. Given the Bank's adequate capitalization, stable funding and ample liquidity conditions; NBK continues to benefit from emerging opportunities locally and regionally, affirming the Bank's income diversification strategy and improved profitability trends".

"Islamic banking remains a key element in the Group's growth and diversification strategy. Our unique Islamic banking presence has further strengthened our position across business segments in Kuwait as Boubyan Bank continues to drive the growth on the Islamic Banking front. The acquisition of a 58.4 percent stake in Boubyan Bank in 2012 was a long-term strategic move by NBK. Boubyan Bank can serve NBK's Islamic banking ambitions globally as we continue to see very positive momentum at Boubyan Bank.

"On the other hand, NBK prides itself to be a well-diversified financial institution; not only by product offerings but also by geography. NBK's International operations remained highly profitable contributing 27 percent of the Group's total profits in the first quarter of 2018. This affirms the Bank's consistency with its strategic outlook towards income diversification. All of our key markets have been strongly performing with the integration and cross selling opportunities emerging in different areas". "Our key growth markets regionally are KSA, UAE along with Egypt and we continue to identify organic growth opportunities in international markets. In 2018, we plan to expand our branch network in Saudi Arabia to three branches from one branch currently, in addition to offering wealth management services in the Kingdom through a Saudi CMA licensed entity.

The Group maintained best in class capitalization positions. As of end-March 2018, NBK's capital adequacy ratio (CAR) reached 17.3 percent, comfortably exceeding regulatory requirements.

NBK continues to enjoy collectively one of 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 twelve consecutive times and was awarded as the Best Bank in Kuwait in 2017 by the Banker, Euromoney and Global Finance.

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, Singapore and China; in addition to its presence in MENA.