National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) reported net profits of KD 203.9 million (USD 708 million) for the first nine months of 2014 compared with KD 198.6 million (USD 689.4 million) for the same period in 2013, growing 2.7 percent year-on-year.
As of end of September 2014, NBK Group's total assets reached KD 21.7 billion (USD 75.4 billion) up 14.6 percent compared to September 2013, while total shareholders' equity increased by 5.2 percent year-on-year to KD 2.6 billion (USD 9.0 billion), the NBK said in a release.
Customer loans and advances reached KD 11.6 billion (USD 40.2 billion) as of end of September 2014, growing at 10.2 percent year-on-year, while customer deposits grew by 7.5 percent for the same period to reach KD 10.8 billion (USD 37.4 billion), it said.
NBK asset quality remained exceptionally strong with NPLs/Gross loans improving to 1.45 percent as of end of September 2014 from 2.39 percent a year ago, and NPL coverage increasing to 274.7 percent from 184.0 percent in September 2013, it added.
NBK Chairman Nasser Al-Sayer said: "NBK continues delivering solid results. NBK's conservative management practices and its strong financial position helped the bank sustain its profitability and resilient market position." Al-Sayer highlighted that the operating environment in Kuwait continues improving reflecting a pickup in economic activity and shaping a better outlook for the banking sector performance.
He said: "There is a significant pickup in project related business which reflects the noticeable improvement in the process of tendering, award and execution of the large infrastructure projects. This is reflecting positively on the overall private sector sentiment and accordingly on the banks' credit growth. This is a trend we hope will continue, especially with the new 5-year Development plan presented by the government." "NBK continued to focus on core banking activities in and outside Kuwait as the main driver of income growth. In the first nine months of 2014, net operating income grew 6.9 percent year-on-year to KD 499.2 million (USD 1.7 billion)," Al-Sayer added.
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 of further diversifying its income sources.
In Kuwait, the bank continued to strengthen its market position, while the acquisition of 58.4 percent stake in Boubyan Bank in 2012, remains a differentiator to NBK's operations in Kuwait as Boubyan continues to offer strong growth outlook for the Group, he said.
Regionally, the performance of NBK's international and regional operations continued to deliver healthy performance, emphasizing the bank's position as a leading regional bank, he added.
In the nine months of 2014, NBK's international operations contributed 26.3 percent to the Group's profits despite the ongoing challenges in some of the regional markets.
"We recently agreed to sell NBK's 30 percent stake in its Qatari associate, International Bank of Qatar (IBQ), as we saw limited opportunity to increase it to a controlling stake," he noted.
NBK was founded in 1952 as the first indigenous bank and the first joint stock company in Kuwait and the Gulf Region. NBK reported profits of USD 844 million (KD 238.1 million) for 2013. NBK's total assets were USD 66 billion (KD 18.6 billion) at the end of 2013, while shareholder equity stood at USD 8.4 billion (KD 2.4 billion).