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National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), the largest Kuwaiti bank and the highest-rated bank in the Middle East by Moody’s, FitchRatings and S&P, reported net profits of USD 703 million (KD 201.5 million) for the first nine months of 2009. NBK achieved USD 263 million for the third quarter ending 30 September 2009 compared with USD 239 million for the same period in 2008, an increase of 10%.
Operating income came at USD 1,406 million in the nine month period, up from USD 1,370 million during the same period of the previous year, reflecting continued growth in the bank’s core activities. NBK's total assets reached USD 42.6 billion (KD 12.2 billion) at the end of September 2009, while shareholder equity stood at USD 6.1 billion (KD 1.7 billion).
Ibrahim Dabdoub, NBK’s Group Chief Executive Officer, said “NBK’s performance remains solid and impressive despite the challenging environment for financial institutions worldwide. Our core operating income continued to demonstrate remarkable resilience as compared to the same period last year. Our strong financial performance along with our ability to consistently expand our core operations, within and outside of Kuwait, earned NBK recognition not only as one of the top 50 safest banks in the world for the second consecutive year, but also pushed NBK up the rankings by 6 positions to number 38 on the list.”
Dabdoub added that the net profits for the nine month period ending September 2009 reflected a number of exceptional one-time events. The bank’s USD 66 million reimbursement to customers for Madoff related products together with the unrealized losses of USD 33 million in our local investment portfolio and the voluntary judgmental loan provisions of USD 66 million, continued to impact Group earnings by approximately USD 165 million. Excluding these exceptional items, NBK’s net profit would have reached USD 868 million in the nine month period to September 2009, which is 2% above the earnings figure for the same period last year.
Dabdoub also highlighted the success of NBK’s regional expansion strategy, specifically in Egypt, Qatar and Turkey, whilst maintaining its market leadership in Kuwait. He stressed that NBK’s successful move into the Islamic banking space through the acquisition of a 40% stake in Boubyan will strengthen further the Bank’s local market position.
Today, NBK enjoys the largest presence in Kuwait with 67 branches, which together with its growing international representation adds up to 166 branches worldwide. NBK’s international presence spans many of the world financial centers including London, Paris, Geneva, New York and Singapore, as well as in China (Shanghai) and Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City). Meanwhile, the regional coverage extends to Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the UAE.
NBK has been consistently awarded the highest credit rating of all banks in the region from Moody's, Standard & Poor's, and Fitch Ratings. The Bank’s ratings are supported by its high capitalization, prudent lending policies and its systematic approach to risk management, in addition to the recognized excellence of its very stable management.