(MENAFN - Arab Times) National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) held its annual General Assembly meeting on Sunday at the bank's headquarters. Nasser Musaed Al-Sayer, NBK's Vice Chairman, stated that NBK Group managed to deliver a strong set of results in 2013 notwithstanding the ongoing challenges in the corporate domestic market and the political instability in some of the regional markets. Al Sayer highlighted that 2013 was a remarkable year on the strategic level as NBK continued to strengthen its positioning in the local, regional and international markets. NBK reported net profits of 844 million (KD 238.1 million) for the year 2013, up 6.5% excluding the exceptional gains recognized in 2012 on the consolidation of Boubyan Bank. As of end of 2013, NBK Group's total assets reached 66.0 billion (KD 18.6 billion) up 12.8% compared to year-end 2012, while total shareholders' equity increased by 3.3% year on year to 8.4 billion (KD 2.37 billion)
The General Assembly endorsed the recommendation of NBK's Board of Directors to distribute a cash dividend equivalent to 30% of the nominal value of the share (30 fils per share) and bonus shares by 5% (5 shares for every 100 shares) to shareholders on record at the time of the General Assembly meeting.
Al Sayer stated that NBK Group achieved a strong performance in 2013 thanks to the bank's financial resilience, clear strategy, conservative culture, and high professional standards
Al Sayer also confirmed that the domestic operating environment continued to improve and the overall outlook is turning more positive. "We have started witnessing some acceleration in the tendering, award and execution of some of the large projects as the government proves determined to advance the execution of the development plan.
The Board of Directors of NBK Group has appointed Isam Jasem Al Sager as NBK Group Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Ibrahim Shukri Dabdoub who decided to retire following the General Assembly Meeting. The Board of Directors has also appointed Shaikha Khaled Al Bahar as the Deputy Group CEO.
Al Sayer stressed that NBK will continue with its current strategy strengthening its leading position both locally and regionally, building on its strong reputation and long track record of solid performance and remarkable achievements.
Al Sayer said that the appointment of Isam Al Sager and Shaikha Al Bahar is testimony to the stability of NBK's management team and reflects the bank's successful succession planning. "The Board of Directors has confirmed its complete confidence in Al Sager and Al Bahar and extended its full support for them to achieve the bank's future ambitions and create value for its shareholders," Al Sayer added
Prior to his appointment as the Group CEO, Al Sager has been holding the position of NBK's Deputy Group CEO since 2010. He also held the position of NBK Kuwait CEO between 2008 and 2010 after being appointed as NBK Kuwait Deputy CEO in 1998. Prior to that, Al Sager held a range of managerial positions as the General Manager of Retail and Wholesale Banking Group since 1992 and Head of Domestic Credit and Marketing in 1987
Shaikha Al Bahar was NBK's Kuwait CEO, a position she has been holding 2010. Prior to that, Al Bahar was NBK Kuwait Deputy CEO between 2008 and 2010 and held several managerial positions including the General Manager of Corporate Banking Group since 2003.
Al Sayer also commented on the decision of Ibrahim Dabdoub to retire, stepping down from his post as NBK Group CEO. Al Sayer extended his and the Board's appreciation for Dabdoub's contribution to NBK's success during his 30 years term as the Group CEO transforming the bank into a well-established regional institution. "On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Mr. Ibrahim Dabdoub for the passion, dedication and dynamism he brought to NBK since his appointment as CEO and even earlier in his different roles since joining the bank in 1961," Al Sayer commented
Dabdoub, on the other hand, expressed his gratitude and appreciation to all the members of the Board of Directors for their trust and support over the years for him and for all the executive management team
Dabdoub has over the years served NBK unconditionally, devoting his life to build a well-recognized organization, both domestically and internationally, with total assets exceeding 66 billion. During his years at NBK, Dabdoub has led the Group through good and bad times generating strong growth and returns for the shareholders
Isam Al Sager, NBK's Group Chief Executive Officer 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
In 2013 NBK Group's international banking profits grew by 9.5% year on year confirming the strength of NBK's international operations. "Moreover, our expansion into Islamic banking through the acquisition of 58.4% of Boubyan Bank continues to pay off as Boubyan's contribution to the group's profitability and balance sheet increases over time," Al Sager added
Shaikha Al Bahar, NBK Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer stressed that NBK has been able to considerably increase its share of the total banking sector profits in Kuwait throughout the global financial crisis. NBK's share of the total banking sector profits increased from 32% in 2007 to 45% in 2013
Al Bahar noted that NBK continues to enjoy collectively 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. "We have over the years maintained the highest asset quality indicators by regional and international standards, despite the ongoing economic challenges," Al Bahar added. NBK is currently rated "Aa3" by Moody's, "AA-" by Fitch Ratings and carries an "A" rating from Standard and Poor's. All NBK ratings have a stable outlook. Added to this, NBK was also named among Global Finance's list of the 50 safest banks in the world for the eighth consecutive time
NBK pioneered its corporate social responsibility programs in 2013, maintaining its position as the largest contributor to the Kuwait community in the private sector. Among the many valued CSR initiatives launched by the Bank was a donation to establish a specialized center for the treatment of leukemia in children at the NBK Children's Hospital. This center is a first-of-its-kind in the region and the donation represents NBK's long term commitment to the comprehensive development and continuity of the hospital, a pillar of the Bank's CSR program
In 2013, as part of its commitment to providing job opportunities to new graduates, NBK actively recruited skilled graduates and young nationals. NBK hired more than 243 nationals and provided 1,600 training and professional development opportunities for staff during 2013. "We believe that our people are our most valuable resource and to that end we've implemented numerous professional development and training programs while focusing recruiting efforts on hiring and training the country's best and brightest minds." Al Bahar said. NBK's corporate social responsibility program for 2013 covered a range of education, environment, health, philanthropic, social and sports-related initiatives