Profits for Kuwait's top bank rise 39%

The National Bank of Kuwait, the Gulf emirate's largest bank, has announced a 39% rise in net profits for the first quarter of this year compared with the same period in 2004.

    NBK has one of the largest networks among Arab banks

    National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) posted $150.2 million of profits in the first quarter, up

    from $108 million in the same period last year, the bank said

    in a statement on Saturday.

    Return on equity rose to 32%, up on last year's 26%

    , while return on assets increased from last year's 2.2%

    to 3.3% in the first three months this year.

    "NBK's fundamental strengths made us well-positioned to take

    full advantage of a favourable environment and rising interest

    rates," said CEO Ibrahim Dabdub.

    "The remarkable increase in net profit during the first quarter

    can also be attributed to the diversification of our income sources,

    which has been one of the key factors behind our consistent solid

    performance," he added.

    NBK achieved record net profits of $510 million in 2004.

    "All lines of business did well, both domestically and overseas.

    We achieved improved margins, higher fee income and strategically

    focused growth across our business activities," Dabdub said.

    The bank's assets at the end of last year stood at $19 billion 

    and its shareholder equity at $1.9 billion, the

    statement said.

    Founded by Kuwait's leading merchant families in 1952 as the

    Gulf state's first commercial bank, NBK has one of the largest

    international networks among Arab banks.



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