National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), the largest Kuwaiti bank and the highest-rated in the Middle East, reported net profits of USD 286 million (KD 81.3 million) for the first quarter of 2013 compared with USD 284.5 million (KD 81.0 million) for the same period in 2012. An NBK report revealed today that as of end of March 2013, NBK Group\'s total assets reached USD 63.4 billion (KD 18.1 billion) up 25.4% compared to March 2012, while total group shareholders\' equity increased by 5.1% year-on-year to USD 8.3 billion (KD 2.4 billion). NBK\'s net operating income continued to improve in the first quarter of 2013, increasing by 10% year-on-year to reach USD 517 million (KD 147.3 million). Ibrahim Dabdoub, NBK\'s Group Chief Executive Officer, said: \"our consistency in delivering strong results is a testimony to our strong financial position and focus on core banking business despite a challenging operating environment.\" \"NBK proved resilient in the face of different crises and continued to deliver solid profits thanks to the bank\'s conservative strategy, fundamental strength and robust risk management practices,\" Dabdoub added. Dabdoub also pointed out that 2013 holds a promising outlook for the operating environment in Kuwait in contrast to last year, in light of the government\'s position to adopt a more dynamic fiscal policy and to accelerate implementation of mega projects. This is expected to boost economic activity and spur growth creating new opportunities in the local economy. Dabdoub highlighted that NBK continued to deliver on its income diversification efforts. NBK increased its stake in Boubyan Bank to 58.4% in the third quarter of 2012, transforming it into a subsidiary of NBK group. Additionally, NBK continues to strengthen its position in regional and international markets, focusing on GCC operations, increasing the contribution of international banking profits to the Group despite regional unrest and the ongoing global crisis.