National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), the largest Kuwaiti bank and the highest rated in the Middle East and emerging markets, yesterday said it earned net profit of $1,002 million (Dh3.677) last year, compared to $876 million in 2006. Operating income increased to $1,554 million from $1,077 million the previous year.
Ibrahim S Dabdoub (pictured above), NBK’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “This year we broke the $1bn profit mark. This feat reinforces NBK’s outstanding performance on a global level in terms of return on assets and return on equity.
“It is a result of efforts to grow existing business lines in keeping with our stated strategy to expand both domestically and regionally.
“Expansion in the domestic market remains an important pillar of our strategy. Our operations in Kuwait continue to grow, benefiting from continuous investment in core business units for a progressively broader, customer centred service. We aim to remain at the cutting edge of technological advancement, always offering the most innovative banking solutions for a wide array of personal and corporate clientele.”
Commenting on NBK’s strategy for regional expansion, Dabdoub said: “Recently we shifted plans to expand our presence in the region up a gear, and also concluded several significant deals. The acquisition of Egypt’s Al Watany Bank, the acquisition of a 40 per cent stake in Turkish Bank, and the increase of our ownership stake in the International Bank of Qatar to 30 per cent, signal our commitment to regional expansion as a strategy to sustain the bank’s growth in the future.”
NBK has the largest presence in Kuwait with 64 branches, as well as a growing international representation in financial centres such as London, Paris, New York, Singapore and Shanghai. The new acquisitions in Egypt and Turkey follows NBK’s entry into Iraq, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Together with a presence in Bahrain and Lebanon, NBK holds a position of a leading regional player. The bank also enjoys coverage in the Kuwaiti, Turkish and Dubai markets through its investment arm, NBK Capital.
“The results from our new markets Qatar, Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia have surpassed our expectations,” said Dabdoub.
During 2007, NBK’s long-term credit rating was upgraded by Moody’s to Aa2 from Aa3, and by S&P rating agency to A+ from A. NBK’s total assets reached $42.3bn at the end of 2007, while its shareholders' equity stood at $5.5bn.