The National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) has signed a financing agreement with a joint venture led by the local Associated Construction Co (ASCO) to finance the KD98 million (USD342.2 million) Al Amiri Hospital expansion project, it announced on Tuesday. The project is part of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Health\'s plans to develop the healthcare sector in the country and had been awarded to ASCO, who leads a joint venture comprising Italian construction firm, Impresa Pizzarotti and the local Al Essa Medical and Scientific Equipment Co. \"Throughout its history, NBK has always been a strategic partner in financing vital projects in Kuwait. NBK\'s role in this project is yet again testament to NBK\'s professionalism and credibility in the market place,\" said Shaikha Al Bahar, NBK Kuwait Chief Executive Officer, following the signing ceremony of the financing agreement at NBK\'s headquarters on Tuesday in the presence of George Nasr, ASCO Partner and General Manager and representatives of the participating companies and NBK officials. Al Bahar stressed that \"The Al Amiri Hospital expansion project reflects the determination to accelerate the implementation of mega projects. This is critical for boosting economic activity and spurring growth. We hope to see additional development projects being executed in the future allowing the private sector to be involved in a larger scale in developing Kuwait.\" The Al Amiri Hospital expansion project comprises the construction, maintenance and provision of medical equipment for a new tower at the hospital, doubling the existing capacity by adding an additional 460 beds and a multi-storey parking block.