Al-Sayer: NBK on track to record another year of record profits

Nasser Musaed Al-Sayer and Isam Al-Sager

KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) reported net profits of KD 185.9 million ($613.8 million) for the period of 1H 2018 compared with KD 164.7 million ($543.9 million) in 1H 2017, growing 12.9 percent year-on-year.

NBK’s 2Q 2018 net profits reached KD 92.3 million ($304.7 million), compared to KD 79.3 million ($262.0 million) for the same period in 2017 recording an increase of 16.3 percent YoY.

Total assets as of end of June 2018 reached KD 26.9 billion ($89.0 billion) up 5.7 percent compared to end of June 2017, while total shareholders’ equity increased by 4.1 percent to KD 3.0 billion ($9.9 billion). Customer loans and advances reached KD 15.2 billion ($50.3 billion) as of end of June 2018, up 6.3 percent from last year’s levels. Customer deposits grew by 7.8 percent year-on-year to reach KD 14.6 billion ($48.3 billion) as of end of June 2018.

Asset quality remained strong with NPL/Gross Loans ratio at 1.40 percent as of end of June 2018, and NPL coverage ratio at 254 percent.

The Group maintained best in class capitalization ratios. As of end-June 2018, NBK’s capital adequacy ratio (CAR) reached 17.2 percent, comfortably exceeding regulatory requirements.

Nasser Al-Sayer, NBK Group Chairman said “Building on last year’s strong profitability trends, NBK is on track to recording another year of record profits as demonstrated in 1H 2018 results. We continued to deliver on our conservative diversification strategy, while maintain growing at a steady pace in spite of critical challenges in the regions we operate in.

Positive outlook
“The Group’s net operating income grew by 10.9 percent year-on-year to KD 442.2 million ($1,460.3 million), driven by robust lending volumes, improving margins in addition to strong fee business” Al-Sayer highlighted.

Al-Sayer also added that “the domestic operating environment continues to drive our positive outlook growth. We continue to witness capital spending plans in place; that was evident in the recent budget where capital spending is on an upward trend.”
“Kuwait is our home market and the most important for us. We continue to see a great opportunity in Kuwait on the back of our view of the private sector playing a major role in infrastructure project execution and financing,” Al-Sayer highlighted. “NBK continues to be at the forefront of this segment and the largest beneficiary given the size of the Banks’ balance sheet, market, dominance, capabilities and expertise. Isam Al-Sager, NBK’s Group Chief Executive Officer said; “The Group has been delivering strong performance quarter after quarter and we continue to see similar trends in 1H 2018 and beyond. Our profits are always driven by core banking activities and growing volumes across most segments supporting our aspiration to diversify assets and income stream by business activity and geography. Given the Bank’s adequate capitalization, stable funding and ample liquidity conditions; NBK continues to benefit from emerging opportunities locally and regionally.”
Islamic banking

“Islamic banking remains a key element in the Group’s growth and diversification strategy. Our subsidiary, Boubyan Bank, is delivering extraordinary performance and growing its contribution to the Group. Boubyan Bank positions NBK Group in a very favorable position, being the only Kuwaiti bank with access to both markets, conventional and Islamic.”

“The geographic exposure helped NBK bring its diversification strategy into practice as we drive a meaningful contribution from our operations outside Kuwait. Profits from international operations reached 28.2 percent of the Group’s total profits in 1H 2018.This confirm the Bank’s key competitive advantage relative to peers.”

“Our key growth markets regionally are the GCC along with Egypt; and we continue to identify organic growth opportunities in international markets. In 2H 2018, we plan to expand our branch network in Saudi Arabia to three branches from one branch currently, in addition to inaugurating our wealth management services in the Kingdom through a Saudi CMA licensed entity.”

Through constant innovation, NBK secures its future, and ensures both the acquisition and retention of customers. NBK has recently been investing in platforms to support transfer initiatives. During the second quarter, the Bank introduced SWIFT GPI service after passing the rigorous testing phase of SWIFT. Moreover, NBK will be the first bank in Kuwait to offer instant cross-border payments latest technology in partnership with Ripple Labs. The RippleNet solution will offer NBK customers a fast, safe and convenient cross border payments option while ensuring all regulatory and compliance requirements are met.

Ratings, awards
NBK continues to enjoy collectively one of the highest ratings among all banks in the Middle East from the three international rating agencies Moody’s, Fitch Ratings and Standard and Poor’s. The Bank’s ratings are supported by its high capitalization, prudent lending policies, and its disciplined approach to risk management, in addition to its highly recognized and very stable management team. NBK was also named among Global Finance’s list of the 50 safest banks in the world for twelve consecutive times and was awarded as the Best Bank in Kuwait in 2017 by the Banker, Euromoney and Global Finance.

NBK enjoys the widest banking presence with a local and international network reaching 4 continents. NBK’s international presence spans many of the world’s leading financial centers including New York, Europe, Singapore and China; in addition to its presence in MENA.