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MENAFN - Arab News - 14/10/2012

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(MENAFN - Arab News) National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), claimed to be the largest Kuwaiti bank and the highest-rated in the Middle East, reported net profits of 814.4 million (KD 228.9 million) for the first nine months of 2012 compared with 802.4 million (KD 225.6 million) for the same period of 2011.

NBK's third quarter 2012 net profits reached 384.6 million (KD 108.1 million) compared to 280.7 million (KD78.9 million) in the third quarter of 2011.

As of end of September 2012, NBK Group's total assets reached 58.1 billion (KD 16.34 billion), up 24.5 percent compared to September 2011, while total group shareholders' equity reached 8.4 billion (KD 2.37 billion), up 5 percent year on year. Ibrahim Dabdoub, NBK's Group CEO, said: "NBK managed to deliver another strong quarter notwithstanding the ongoing challenges.

The operating environment continues to pose some barriers to our potential for growth. Government spending continues to be insufficient and the tendering of new projects has significantly lagged leading to a stagnant stock market performance and dormancy in economic activity. Moreover, the developing geopolitical tensions are also putting further pressures on the business sentiment both locally and in the region."

Dabdoub also commented that the improvement in the local operating environment now depends on developing a more dynamic fiscal policy, most importantly accelerating spending on mega projects. We hope this will materialize in the near future considering recent directions from the highest authority and the proposed measures to boost economic activity and spur growth. "The recent results confirm NBK's focus on core banking activities and the success of our regional expansion strategy. The diversification of our income sources continues to differentiate NBK and help us deliver strong results," he said.

Dabdoub also highlighted that the third quarter of 2012 witnessed a major strategic move for NBK increasing its stake in Boubyan Bank to 58.34 percent transforming it into a subsidiary of NBK group. This move is key to strengthening our presence in Kuwait's Islamic banking market and opens new growth prospects for the Group.

NBK has the widest banking presence in Kuwait with 65 branches, which together with its growing international presence totals 174 branches worldwide.

NBK's international presence spans many of the world's leading financial centers including London, Paris, Geneva, New York and Singapore, as well as China (Shanghai).

Meanwhile, regional coverage extends to Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Turkey.

NBK continues to collectively enjoy 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.


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