The National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) has reported net profits of KD 261.8 million (USD 894.2 million) for the year 2014 compared with KD 238.1 million (USD 813.3 million) in 2013, 10 percent year on year growth.
As of end of 2014, NBK Group's total assets reached KD 21.8 billion (USD 74.4 billion) up 17.1 percent compared to year-end 2013, while total shareholders' equity increased by 5.8 percent year on year to KD 2.5 billion (USD 8.6 billion), the NBK said in a statement.
Loans and advances reached KD 11.9 billion (USD 40.7 billion) at year-end 2014 up 11.3 percent compared to year-end 2013 and customer deposits reached KD 11.3 billion (USD 38.5 billion), up 7.5 percent compared to 2013, it said.
Asset quality ratios continued to improve with Non-performing loans (NPL) to gross loans ratio dropping to 1.5 percent in year-end 2014 from 1.96 percent in 2013 and NPL coverage ratio increasing to 276 percent at year-end 2014 from 200 percent in 2013, it added.
The NBK's board of directors has recommended a cash dividend of 30 fils per share (30 percent of the par value) and 5 percent bonus shares (5 shares for every 100 shares).
NBK Chairman Nasser Al-Sayer said: "NBK's 2014 profits reflect the pickup in business volumes and the group's ability to benefit from the ongoing improvement in the operating environment. NBK's net operating income reached KD 661 million (USD 2,258 million) in 2014, up from KD 626 million in 2013 (USD 2,139 million), up 5.6 percent a year on year." Al-Sayer highlighted that the operating environment in Kuwait continued to show strong signs of improvement in 2014. "There is significant improvement in the domestic operating environment that is quite evident in the acceleration of the award and execution of the mega development projects," he said.
"This improvement has reflected positively on NBK's volume growth and accordingly strong fee business and operating income. During the year, we witnessed the award of several landmark projects where NBK had a lead role in their financing" Al-Sayer added.
Al-Sayer also said: "We remain optimistic on the outlook of the GCC generally and Kuwait specifically despite the acute drop in oil prices. The Gulf economies benefit from a very strong balance sheet with significant reserves which will allow them to continue with their expansionary policies." For his part, NBK Group CEO Isam Al-Sager commented: "NBK remains focused on its strategy to geographically diversify its income sources through strengthening its market positions both locally and regionally. On the local front, NBK maintained its top market position growing all its business lines in Kuwait.
The bank also continued to benefit from its earlier expansion into Islamic banking following the acquisition of 58.4 percent of Boubyan Bank in 2012 as the contribution of Boubyan Bank to the Group profits continues to grow, he said.
On the regional front, Al-Sager confirmed that NBK's subsidiaries, affiliates and branches continued to deliver very strong results strengthening NBK's position as a leading regional bank.
In 2014, profits from NBK's international operations grew by 6.4 percent year on year despite the ongoing challenges in some of the regional markets. During the 3Q 2014, NBK agreed to sell its 30 percent stake in its Qatari associate, International Bank of Qatar (IBQ), he added.