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Kuwait: NBK to integrate its FX, money and capital markets business with Murex’s MX.3 platform


National Bank of Kuwait's (NBK) has signed a contract with Murex, an industry leader in trading, risk management and processing solutions for money, FX and capital markets, to implement a full replacement of its legacy IT systems at Group Treasury and Investments with the MX.3 platform.

Founded more than 30 years ago, Paris-based Murex is a global provider of cross-asset financial technology solutions to players in the money markets, FX markets and capital markets.  In addition to having more than 50,000 daily users in 60 countries, Murex has a presence in 17 financial hubs around the world including New York, Singapore, London and Dubai.

MX.3 will become NBK’s fully integrated solution for trading, book keeping, risk management, operations, collateral management, treasury and investments for the front, middle and back offices across the bank’s operations in Kuwait and its international branches and subsidiaries, including Paris, London, New York, Singapore, Dubai and Beirut.

The replacement process has already started in NBK's branches in Kuwait and Bahrain; and the first go-live is anticipated in 2020.

"The deal marks NBK's keenness to implement top-notch, high-tech and most efficient solutions, in line with the bank's digital transformation strategy," said Jad Jalal Zakhour, Deputy General Manager – Group Treasury, commenting on implementing the MX.3 platform.

"NBK adopts full-fledged and innovative solutions to enhance its product offering and improve its risk-management capabilities. The MX.3 platform will help implement NBK's prudent policies and will further allow the bank to manage existing and future regulations across all markets, and extend its product offering, primarily across investment products and hedging solutions," he added.

"Integrating our business portfolio with Murex MX.3 platform will help provide cutting-edge technology and unique product innovation for the whole Group," he noted.

Philippe Helou, Co-founder and Managing Partner at Murex added, “We are truly excited to be working with NBK to deliver the technology they need to extend their product offering throughout Kuwait and beyond. We seek long-term partnership with NBK amid a trend in the region towards high-tech, fully integrated solutions to replace legacy platforms, fueling demand for sophisticated modern banking systems in the region.”

Global Finance Magazine awarded National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) three new awards for the year 2019, the first is the “Best Bank for Liquidity Management Middle East and North Africa”, the second is “Best Treasury and Cash Management in Kuwait” and the third is “Best Foreign Exchange Provider in the Region”. Global Finance Magazine chooses its best-bank awards based on a variety of criteria that comprise profitability, market share, customer service, competitive pricing, innovative products and the level to which these institutions exceed their competitors in terms of providing treasury services.

Kuwait: NBK reports 2019 net profit of KD 401.3 million, increasing 8.2% Y-o-Y


National Bank of Kuwait (“NBK”, the “Bank” or the “Group”), today announced its financial results for the year ended 31 December 2019. The Group delivered strong annual performance with net profit of KD 401.3 million (USD 1.3 billion) compared with KD 370.7 million (USD 1.2 billion) in 2018, increasing by 8.2% year-on-year.

Total assets in 2019 stood at KD 29.3 billion (USD 96.6 billion), increasing by 6.7%, with customer deposits increasing by 10.7% to reach KD 15.9 billion (USD 52.6 billion) and customer loans and advances growing by 6.8% to KD 16.6 billion (USD 54.6 billion). NBK’s Board of Directors has proposed the distribution of a cash dividend of 35 fils per share, representing 56.4% of net profit, in addition to 5% bonus shares.

The proposed dividend is subject to shareholders’ approval at the Annual General Meeting. Earnings per share (EPS) stood at 60 fils, as compared to 55 fils in 2018, and equity attributable to shareholders increased by 8.8% to KD 3.21 billion (USD 10.6 billion).

Nasser Musaed Abdulla Al-Sayer, NBK Group Chairman, commented: “2019 was another strong year as we delivered healthy profitability while maintaining a robust balance sheet – demonstrating the quality and diversity of both our operations and earnings.

The Bank remains firmly committed to New Kuwait 2035 and is taking confident steps towards supporting its delivery. These financial results are driven by the execution of our strategy for growth and innovation, while contributing to the country’s socioeconomic development.

A highlight of the year was the heavy oversubscription of our USD 750 million perpetual tier-1 capital securities issuance, which was well-received by global fixed income investors and reflects solid investor confidence in NBK.”

Net operating income grew by 1.4% to KD 895.5 million (USD 3.0 billion), while non-interest income increased by 7.0% to KD 206.3 million (USD 680.7 million). Our international operations continued to play an important role in mitigating Group-level risk and diversifying income from across geographies. The total bottom line contribution of international operations accounted for 28% of the Group’s net profit in 2019.

Isam J. Al-Sager, NBK’s Group Chief Executive Officer, said: “Despite operating conditions remaining below expectations, with a volatile oil prices environment, NBK recorded another set of strong results, as the breadth of its operations and the scale of its international footprint mitigated risks and ensured consistent profitability.

Non-oil GDP growth in Kuwait is projected to reach 2.5% in 2020, and the pipeline of scheduled project awards is healthy. There is a broad expectation that the year will bring positive operating conditions, as the government continues to stimulate economic activity and the appetite for credit improves.

 NBK is deeply committed to its digitalization strategy, in an effort to develop an established foothold in its regional markets. In 2019 we were proud to launch our in-house Digital Factory, which is playing a vital role in driving the progress of our digital roadmap. This will soon become a unique competitive advantage in the region.”

NBK’s asset quality metrics remained strong with the ratio of non-performing loans to gross loans at 1.10%, compared with 1.38% in 2018, and an NPL coverage ratio of 272.2%, compared with 228.1% in 2018. The Bank maintained healthy levels of capitalization, with a capital adequacy ratio of 17.8% at year-end, compared with 17.2% in 2018. This level of capitalization is aligned with the Group’s risk appetite and in excess of the Central Bank of Kuwait’s requirements.

Al-Sager concluded: “NBK’s strategy for 2020 will not deviate from its current trajectory. The Group will continue to increase the diversity of its income across geographies and segments, with the primary objective of achieving superior returns and offering exceptional service to customers.”

In 2019, NBK was recognized by Global Finance and The Banker as the Best Bank in Kuwait, as well as ranking in the World’s 50 Safest Banks list by Global Finance for the 14th consecutive time. The awards are evidence of NBK’s strong financial position, market leadership and of its ability to meet the ever-changing needs of its customers.