KIPCO first quarter profit doubled


Kuwait Projects Co (KIPCO) said first-quarter net profit, excluding the sale of National Mobile Telecommunications Co (Wataniya), doubled and it was on track to attain its full-year income goal.

Net profit for the three months ended March 31 came in at KWD30 million ($112.8 million; Dh415.10 million), driven by a 9 per cent profit growth of its unit Burgan Bank, the country's biggest investment firm said in a statement on Saturday.

KIPCO was on track to achieve its 2008 net profit goal of KWD105 million to KWD110 million, spokesman Rob Hipkins told Reuters.

Chief Executive Faisal al-Ayyar said in the statement he expects this year to be a "record year".

KIPCO, which owns stakes in 50 companies and operates in 21 countries, had led a consortium selling Wataniya to Qatar Telecommunications Co in the first quarter last year, bolstering its net profit to KWD381.5 million.

Excluding that sale net profit was KWD15 million.

Earnings per share for the first quarter was 27 fils and total revenues increased to KWD135 million from KWD78 million in the year-earlier period, KIPCO said. Total assets advanced by 9.5 per cent to KWD4.6 billion, it added.

KIPCO had also forecast paying a dividend of between 70 fils and 80 fils this year, compared with 90 fils last year.

KIPCO wants to expand into regional markets from Saudi Arabia to Algeria by investing in financial services firms or boosting stakes in existing operations, Ayyar said last month.

Last year, KIPCO raised its holdings in Kuwaiti lender Burgan Bank, Bahrain's United Gulf Bank and insurer Gulf Insurance. (Reuters)