- Total assets reached KD 27.4 billion (USD 90.4 billion), increasing by 5.4% year-on-year
- Proposed cash dividend distribution of 35 fils per share in addition to 5% bonus shares
- Diversification of income and operations a key theme for growth
Kuwait City, Kuwait: The National Bank of Kuwait (“NBK”, the “Bank” or the “Group”) has announced its financial results for the 12-month period ended 31 December 2018. NBK reported a net profit of KD 370.7 million (USD 1.2 billion), which increased by 15.0% on 2017, with total assets increasing by 5.4% to reach KD 27.4 billion (USD 90.4 billion). Customer loans and advances increased by 6.9% to KD 15.5 billion (USD 51.1 billion), while customer deposits increased by 4.4% to reach KD 14.4 billion (USD 47.4 billion). The Group’s Board of Directors has proposed a cash dividend distribution of 35 fils per share, representing 35.0% of the nominal share value in addition to 5% bonus shares, all subject to approval by shareholders at the AGM.
NBK maintained a conservative approach to risk, reflected in the confirmation of strong long-term credit ratings. The Bank’s robust asset quality metrics held steady, with the NPL/gross loans ratio at 1.38% and an NPL coverage ratio of 228.1%. The Group maintained a high level of capitalization, with a capital adequacy ratio of 17.2%, comfortably in excess of the Central Bank of Kuwait’s requirement.
“We are pleased to report another year of solid performance. The Bank has continued to benefit from Kuwait’s strong fiscal position, which largely protected the country from regional economic volatility during the year. GDP growth is projected to reach 2.2%, and the pipeline of scheduled project awards remains strong. The role that NBK will play in supporting economic growth and the agenda of ‘New Kuwait 2035’ is assured, as it remains the bank of choice for financing public and private projects.
Having increased the scale and contribution of our international operations, while consolidating our leadership position in Kuwait, we achieved considerable progress in pursuit of our diversification strategy. Our diversification extends to the product and service offering, growth in existing geographies, our approach to new business opportunities, and our commitment to a digital transformation that will position the Bank for future growth.”
Group net operating income grew by 7.4% year-on-year to reach KD 883.2 million (USD 2.9 billion), with improved earnings driven by an increasingly diverse range of income generators from across business units. Non-interest income accounted for 22% of net operating income in 2018 with robust fee generation across units, as the Bank continues to seek opportunities for improving non-interest income. International banking operations accounted for 29% of the Group’s net profit, increasing from a contribution of 28% in 2017. Islamic Banking, through subsidiary Boubyan Bank, provided further diversity to the income profile, with a growing contribution to Group net profit.
NBK Group CEO, Isam Al-Sager, commented:
“While the local and regional banking sector faced challenges due to a high level of liquidity putting pressure on credit growth, NBK recorded another set of exceptional results, as the breadth of its operations and the scale of our international footprint mitigated risk. Earnings from our core banking activities clearly reflect NBK’s underlying institutional strength, which is supported by a strategy that hedges risk by diversifying income across products, customer types and geographies, while maintaining a competitive advantage in the domestic market through both a conventional and Islamic offer. NBK remains a safe haven, in light of its high credit ratings and recognition of its prudent risk management approach – as borne out by another year of inclusion in Global Finance’s list of the World’s 50 Safest Banks.
A core component of the diversification theme in 2018 was the considerable effort made by the Bank towards its digital transformation. The programme is cross-segment and cross-geography, impacting internal processes and systems as well as the experience and opportunities of our customers.”
Effective cost management policies saw cost growth of just 4.1%, compared with 5.3% in 2017, resulting in a cost-to-income ratio of 31.3% compared with 32.3% in the previous year. The Bank’s profitability metrics delivered positive results, with return on average assets of 1.38% compared with 1.28% in 2017 and return on average equity of 12.0% compared with 10.8% for the previous year. Basic earnings per share (EPS) were 58 fils at year-end (50 fils in 2017), with equity attributable to shareholders increasing by 3.3% to KD 2.9 billion (USD 9.7 billion).
“Our strategic pathway remains essentially unchanged. Our primary objective is to deliver superior returns to shareholders, which we will achieve by defending our leadership of core businesses, maintaining our dominant share of the domestic Kuwaiti market, achieving growth in target segments and exploiting our international presence. Having achieved particularly robust performance in Egypt, we will look to consolidate and build upon recent growth in that market; while in Saudi Arabia we will seek to grow the client-base and AuMs of the recently launched Al Watani Wealth Management Company. We look forward to maintaining our commitment to both customers and shareholders, as we build a more diverse and sophisticated banking offer.”
About National Bank of Kuwait (NBK):
NBK was founded in 1952 as the first indigenous bank and the first joint stock company in Kuwait and the Gulf Region. NBK reported net profits of USD 1.2 billion (KD 370.7 million) for 2018. NBK's total assets were USD 90.4 billion (KD 27.4 billion) at the end of 2018, while shareholder equity stood at USD 9.7 billion (KD 2.9 billion).
NBK is the largest financial institution in Kuwait with effective market dominance in the commercial banking market and has been consistently awarded the highest credit rating of all banks in the region from Moody's, Standard & Poor's, and Fitch Ratings. NBK also stands out in terms of its local and international network, which includes branches, subsidiaries and representative offices in China, Geneva, London, Paris, New York, and Singapore alongside its regional presence in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Turkey, and the UAE.
NBK’s Long-Term Rating:
- Moody’s Aa3
- Fitch Ratings AA-
- Standard & Poor’s A+
© Press Release 2019