The National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) during its General Assembly meeting Saturday announced net profits of KD 261.8 million (USD 894.2 million) for the year 2014 compared with KD 238.1 million (USD 813.3 million) in 2013, 10 percent year on year growth.
As of end of 2014, NBK Group's total assets reached KD 21.8 billion (USD 74.4 billion) up 17.1 percent compared to year-end 2013, while total shareholders' equity increased by 5.8 percent year on year to KD 2.5 billion (USD 8.6 billion), the NBK said in a statement.
The General Assembly endorsed the recommendation of NBK's Board of Directors to distribute a cash dividend equivalent to 30 percent of the nominal value of the share (30 fils per share) and bonus shares by 5 percent (5 shares for every 100 shares) to shareholders.
NBK's Chairman Nasser Al Sayer highlighted many achievements NBK Group attained in 2014, noting NBK's results reaffirm the Bank's well established and solid financial position and its leadership in the Kuwaiti banking sector.
"NBK's leadership in financing mega governmental projects locally and the strengthening of its position in regional markets, especially in the GCC all reflected positively on the bank's performance and laid the groundwork for a profitable and successful new year ahead," Al Sayer said.
Al Sayer stated that the year 2014 was a turning point for the prospects of the Kuwaiti economy.
"Regionally, NBK continued its strategy to strengthen its position in the MENA markets with a particular focus on the GCC markets that are characterized by their strong economic scope and promising growth opportunities," he said.
He explained that selling NBK's stake in its Qatari associate, International Bank of Qatar (IBQ), was among the important decisions taken by NBK in 2014.
He added the decision came after difficulties to raise NBK's 30 percent ownership to a controlling stake, noting but the exit from IBQ along with the high returns that NBK achieved from this investment enhanced the Bank's ability to seize better growth opportunities in Qatar and other GCC markets.
Meanwhile, NBK's Group Chief Executive Officer Isam Al Sager said that NBK continued to achieve a strong performance in 2014, thanks to the bank's financial resilience, clear strategy, conservative culture, and high professional standards.
He added the total Group assets reached KD 21.8 billion, recording a growth of 17.1 percent year-on-year, noting total shareholders' equity reached KD 2.5 billion, growing at 5.8 percent year-on-year.
He mentioned deposits also witnessed strong growth, reaffirming the reputation of NBK as one of the region's most trustworthy and safest banks.
Al Sager highlighted that NBK is progressively implementing its income diversification strategy.
"Our regional and international strategy remains on track. We are focusing our efforts on the GCC countries to leverage NBK's strong franchise there and to benefit from the strong economic outlook and the growth opportunities available," he said.
Al Sager stressed that despite the political and social unrest and developments in some Arab markets, the overseas operations proved resilient.
The profits from overseas operations increased by 6.4 percent year-on-year confirming NBK's successful regional expansion strategy, he added.
For her part, NBK Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer Sheikha Al Bahar stressed that the year 2014 saw the launch of several major development projects considered vital to stimulating the local economy and this has already begun to boost the local operating environment.
She highlighted NBK's role in some of the most prominent projects.
"NBK's role reflects its prestigious reputation and its leadership position in the banking sector locally, and regionally," she said.
She added this positioning of NBK reflects its ability to benefit from the growth opportunities like the pickup rate in implementation of mega development projects in Kuwait which is expected to accelerate considerably in the coming year.
Meanwhile, NBK-Kuwait Chief Executive Officer Salah Al Fulaij said that NBK has been able to considerably increase its share of the total banking sector profits in Kuwait throughout the global financial crisis. He stated NBK's share of the total banking sector profits increased from 32 percent in 2007 to 40 percent in 2014.
Al Fulaij said that NBK hired about 315 Kuwaiti citizens in 2014, adding Kuwaiti employees comprise 64 percent of NBK's workforce.