Gulf Bank net profit rises 10% to KD 39m – 4 fils per share cash dividend recommended

Omar Alghanim, Chairman of Gulf Bank

Omar Alghanim, Chairman of Gulf Bank

KUWAIT: Gulf Bank yesterday announced an operating profit before provisions of KD 108 million for the year ended, 31 December 2015, and a Net profit at KD 39 million, which is a 10 percent increase over 2014. At the end of December 2015, the Bank’s total assets were KD 5,438 million. The growth in deposits was 5 percent, increasing the total deposits at the bank to KD 4,563 million. Total shareholders’ equity increased by 5 percent to KD 538 million.

Loan quality remains strong, reflecting the Bank’s prudent underwriting policies and procedures. Non-performing loans (NPLs) declined from 3.2 percent at the end of 2014 to 2.7 percent at the end of 2015 and coverage (collaterals and provisions) on NPLs improved to 348 percent.

Commenting on the results, Omar Kutayba Alghanim, Gulf Bank’s Chairman said: ” These past several years have marked the culmination of the journey to transform Gulf Bank with 2015 decisively demonstrating the Bank has moved onto a different path of growth and innovation. We have seen a 10 percent growth in profits; strengthened our balance sheet; diversified our portfolio to reduce concentrations in risk sectors; recorded net double digit growth in net profit for two straight years; coverage (collateral and provisions) on NPLs reached 348 percent; and our retail sector continues to achieve strong growth. Furthermore, the Bank closes the year with an “A” rating from the three leading credit agencies, having received upgrades from both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. All of these indicators are positive and we will be proposing cash dividends for our shareholders, of 4 fils per share, at our upcoming Annual General Meeting.”

Alghanim continued: “I am excited by the transformation of the bank and looking forward to continuing to innovate and grow in new areas, particularly with new technologies. Furthermore, our qualitative indicators on client satisfaction are up, which is a leading marker for even better future results. During 2016, we are reinforcing our commitment to attract, develop, and retain the best talent; to that end, our methods, systems and practices will be revamped to world-class standards. I would like to thank the Board of Directors, our Shareholders, the Central Bank of Kuwait, the Capital Markets Authority, and our staff for their support throughout the year.

César González-Bueno, Gulf Bank’s CEO said: “The Bank’s strategic direction, set by the Chairman and the Board, was successfully implemented during 2015. There was net growth in Wholesale, despite the purposeful decrease in high-risk sectors and clients. In Retail, we had double-digit growth in consumer loans and a 4 percent growth in our current and savings accounts, both of which have been faster than market growth. Following the revamp of two of our customer segments, the Kuwaiti salary proposition increased by 12 percent and the youth/student focused Red increased by 52 percent. In terms of new products, we launched our new loyalty program Gulf Rewards which is the fastest and most rewarding loyalty program in Kuwait. It includes Gulf Points for flights and hotels redemptions and ‘Entertainer’, Kuwait’s first geo-locator mobile application that gives customers exclusive offers in Kuwait, UAE, and London. I am encouraged by our results and product launches in 2015, we will carry this momentum of transformation and healthy growth into 2016. In Wholesale, new products and enhanced services will soon hit the market and in Retail, major improvements in products and channels are about to be launched.”

Gulf Bank now rated “A” by leading rating agencies
The Bank closes the year with three “A” ratings from the leading international credit rating agencies. These upgrades in ratings are significant as they come in an era of declining oil prices and a weakening global economy. In June 2015, the Bank received a rating upgrade from Standard & Poor’s to A- from BBB+. In November, the Bank received a rating upgrade from Moody’s to A3 from Baa1. Throughout 2015, the Bank maintained it’s A+ rating from Fitch Ratings. These agencies have noted the work the Bank has completed a wide restructuring of its portfolio and working out significant volumes of impaired loans. These ratings also reflect the Bank’s strict risk standards, along with its resilient core profitability, and adequacy of its capital buffers. The agencies also affirmed the Bank’s asset quality, capitalization, solid-revenue-generating capacity, and sound risk-management systems and practices.

Social responsibility focuses on health/fitness and youth
The Bank continues to dedicate itself to sponsorships and events that benefit the community at-large. The Bank successfully concluded the first Gulf Bank 642 Marathon, Kuwait’s first and only full road race to be internationally accredited by the world’s governing body for the sport of track and field athletics. The Gulf Bank 642 Marathon was a walking and running event (5km, 10km, 21km, and 42Km) and the three longer distance categories now appear in the international calendar of races and serve as qualifying races for other world marathons. The event was well received as they were 2,400 participants who came from over 74 countries.

The Bank was a lead sponsor of INJAZ- Kuwait, and will continue its strategic partnership to help deliver Arabic and English language education programs on entrepreneurial and leaderships skills to help youth build successful careers. The Bank was also a platinum sponsor of the National Union of Kuwaiti Students conference in the USA (NUKS-USA), where it held several skills and career workshops. Additionally, it also sponsored the Tmkeen Youth Empowerment Symposium, a Kuwaiti initiative delivered by youth to the youth in Kuwait. Furthermore, the Bank also sponsored the Jahazeen 2 training and development program in cooperation with Kuwait’s Manpower and Government Restructuring Program (MGRP).

Awards
During 2015, the bank growth and soundness was strongly acknowledged by the financial services and banking industry with numerous prestigious awards. In 2015, the Bank won over 20 awards spread over different sectors of its work. These awards provide a benchmark for the financial sector, recognizing the most successful and innovative banking solutions. With certain awards they are global market comparisons, and in other instances the awards are country specific, so that the competition is within the same market and regulatory framework.

The awards include “Best Retail Bank in Kuwait” by The Asian Banker; “Best Retail Bank in Kuwait” and “Best Retail Customer Service Bank in Kuwait” from International Finance Magazine (IFM); “Best Commercial Bank” and “Best Innovation in Retail Banking” from International Banker; and “Best Customer Experience Overall Branch” and “Best Branch Experience” from Ethos Integrated Solutions; “Best Car Loan” and “Best Customer Service (Retail)” from Banker Middle East, “Best Cash Management Bank in Kuwait” by The Asian Banker; and “Best Customer Service (Retail)”, “Best Car Loan”, as well as ‘Best Cash Management’ awards from Banker Middle East Kuwait Product Awards 2015.

This article was published on 31/01/2016