Gulf Bank today announced a net profit of KD 14.3 million for the first half of 2013, an increase of 12%, against KD 12.8 million for the same period last year. In continuing with the strategy to build a fortress balance sheet, the Bank increased its precautionary provisions to KD 150 million. As of end of June 2013, the Bank\'s total assets were KD 5,010 million, deposits stood at KD 4,079 million and total shareholders\' equity was KD 466 million, said bank chairman Omar al-Ghanim in a press statement. He added \"I am very pleased to report the steady progress the Bank has made so far this year. We have been able to deliver good results in a difficult market and have continued to maintain the positive trend we have seen in previous quarters, especially the significant decline in the nonperforming loan ratio from 30.6% in 2009 to 7.6%. This continues to be one key focus area at the bank. \"I am particularly proud of the Bank\'s recent Viability Rating upgrade by Fitch Rating Agency and Moody\'s Investor Services upgrade of the Outlook to \'positive\'. In March 2013, Standard Poor\'s (SP) had upgraded the bank for the second time in the past 18 months to BBB+ from BBB, and affirming the Bank\'s positive outlook. This is an outstanding accomplishment, which proves the Bank\'s stability and the robustness of its strategy in today\'s market. It is a reflection of the confidence of the international financial community in the Bank\'s sustained improvement in asset quality and capitalization since 2009. \"Over the last quarter, Gulf Bank has successfully completed the implementation of its corporate governance as required by the Central Bank of Kuwait\'s regulations, ensuring accountability, fairness, and transparency in our relationships with all our stakeholders. We also welcomed Harvard Business School, who hosted a hugely successful and insightful leadership development program for Gulf Bank\'s experienced executives here in Kuwait. We hope to conduct many more programs such as this for our team in the future as part of our commitment to developing skills and ensuring that Gulf Bank\'s management and staff are equipped to keep Gulf Bank at the forefront of Kuwait\'s financial community.\" The chairman ended his comments on the bank\'s performance by saying that \"Earlier in June, we were appointed as Joint Lead Manager in a five year KD 60 million bond issue for United Real Estate Company (URC), a leading real estate development company in the Middle East. The bond has been rated BBB-with a positive outlook by Capital Intelligence. Our role in this bond marks a significant milestone for Gulf Bank in both providing our customers with a wide range of diversified investment opportunities and utilizing our own skills as a bond arranger and structurer. I thank our professional management team who has developed a robust corporate strategy that is growing our business, building our market share, and will help to develop a leading position for Gulf Bank in the Kuwaiti economy.\"