National Bank of Kuwait reports $1.7bln net profits for 2022

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Kuwait – National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) released its results for the twelve months period ended December 31, 2022. The Bank recorded a net profit of KD 509.1 million (USD 1.7 billion), up 40.5% year-on-year from KD 362.2 million (USD 1.2 billion) in the corresponding period of 2021.

As of the end of December 2022, total assets grew by 9.3% year-on-year to reach KD 36.3 billion (USD 118.6 billion), whereas customer deposits surged by 10.4% to reach KD 20.2 billion (USD 65.9 billion). Meanwhile, total loans and advances stood at KD 21.0 billion (USD 68.6 billion), up by 6.5% year-on-year, while shareholders’ equity reached KD 3.4 billion (USD 11.2 billion), growing by 3.3% year-on-year.

In terms of distributions, the Board of Directors proposed a cash dividend of 25 fils per share for the second half of 2022, bringing the total cash dividends for the year to 35 fils, representing 52% of profits attributable. The Board of Directors also proposed the distribution of 5% bonus shares (5 shares for every 100 shares owned). The proposed cash dividend distribution and bonus shares are subject to approval by the Annual General Assembly, which will be scheduled during March 2023.

Earnings per share (EPS) stood at 65 fils per share at the end of the year, compared to 45 fils at the end of 2021.

Mr. Hamad Al-Bahar, Group Chairman commented on the financial results: “In a milestone year marking our seventieth anniversary, NBK reported historical results in 2022. As Kuwait’s first national bank, we established a solid foundation since inception and pioneered in promoting national economic development. NBK played a key role in empowering businesses across all sectors while also serving as an industry leader in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)”.

“We are proud to have achieved the highest annual profits in the Bank’s history; driven by solid operational performance across all business segments, reflecting the soundness of our prudent strategy and solid financial position”, Al-Bahar continued.

NBK record earnings enable the bank’s efforts to support the economy, employ local talents, and boost community investments.

“Over the course of the year, new challenges emerged, including geopolitical tensions in Europe in the wake of the war in Ukraine, as well as tightened monetary policies pursued by most central banks around the world in a bid to curb high inflation, which threatens a global economic slowdown in 2023. Nonetheless, NBK rose above those challenges, thanks to its prudent risk management approach and diversification strategy” Al-Bahar highlighted.

The Board of Directors’ recommendation to distribute more than half of the Bank’s profits reflects the bank’s internal capital generation capacity allowing it to maintain a lucrative dividend policy creating shareholders’ value, while preserving healthy capital buffers. Total cash dividends distributed over the past ten years reached KD 1.8 billion in addition to KD 3.2 billion worth of bonus shares (based on NBK closing share price as of 31 December 2022)” Al-Bahar explained.

“Our commitment extends beyond creating value to our shareholders. We offer cutting edge services to our customers, invest in the development of local talents, and expand our reliance on local suppliers.”

Al-Bahar confirmed that 2022 was a year of responsible growth, as the Bank executed remarkable strategies that marked a turning point in its efforts to enhance ESG practices. Moreover, in the early days of 2023, NBK announced its commitment to become carbon neutral by 2060 to support Kuwait’s strategic initiative to drive environmental and socio-economic prosperity and the state’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2060. As part of this commitment, the Bank has set interim goals to reduce its gross operational emissions by 25% by 2025. NBK is well-positioned to take the lead in addressing environmental concerns and climate change issues, as well as increasing its contributions to building an equitable and more diversified society.

“As we enter a new decade in NBK’s journey, we remain committed to driving sustainable growth, supporting economic development, and creating the greatest possible added-value for all stakeholders; in the course of establishing the highest and best standard of banking services in Kuwait and the region.” Al-Bahar concluded.

Meanwhile, Mr. Isam Al-Sager, Vice Chairman and Group CEO, said: “We are extremely pleased to report record results for 2022, given a challenging global operating environment. This stellar performance is a testament to the resilience of our business model and our ability to capture opportunities while it also reflects positively on our solid foundation that we continue to nurture to overcome challenges and drive sustainable growth.”

Al-Sager highlighted that the growth in profits is driven by stronger operational performance; with net operating income exceeding KD 1 billion, up 12.2% year on year. Furthermore, a gradual improvement in the operating environment following a return to business as usual continued to weigh positively on improving cost of risk; affirming NBK’s success with its proactive risk management approach over the years.

Al-Sager also stated that the Group’s international operations, as well as its Islamic subsidiary, Boubyan Bank, continue to contribute significantly to earnings growth. This asserts the diversification strategy’s continued success, particularly with the Group’s concentration on growth markets. In 2022, international operations accounted for approximately 26% of overall Group profits, with Islamic banking operations accounting for more than 10%.

“The Group continues to enjoy a healthy financial position, which was further strengthened in 2022 by the growth of our loan portfolio, customer deposits, and total assets, while maintaining high asset quality ratios”, Al-Sager confirmed.

“NBK was very successful in achieving a solid performance in its core banking activities, as the Bank continues to deliver tailored banking products and services to its customers, particularly digital offerings. Furthermore, the Bank was able to maintain its dominant market share in corporate banking and trade finance, as well as enhance the competitiveness of its wealth management platform, through the development of its human capital, operational model, and increasing synergies among the platform’s services”.

“These services and products empower the business sector and its ability to continue adding economic value, creating jobs, and advancing community development efforts, in addition to our pioneering role as the largest financier of development projects supporting the national economy”, Al-Sager added.

“Our activities and services serve all parts of society due to our dedication to meeting our social responsibilities and our emphasis on strengthening the human element, particularly young local talent, which accounted for 80% of the bank’s 325 new recruits this year. The Bank will continue to focus on mentoring and developing the skills of these cadres through different training programs, specifically tailored to accelerate their learning curve. In addition to our efforts to promote school students’ financial awareness through the launch of “Bankee” program, NBK Academy recently welcomed the twenty-seventh cohort of university graduates”.

“Meanwhile, we continued to enrich our customers’ digital banking experience with a suite of the most innovative services and payment solutions. As the first digital bank in Kuwait, “Weyay” exceeded its customer acquisition targets within the first few months of its launch, as it caters to the financial needs and lifestyle of younger digitally savvy customers”, Al-Sager indicated.

“The year 2022 marks a turning point in our sustainability journey. To reinforce our commitment, we transformed our sustainability strategy in 2022 and launched our new ESG strategy to re-envision our focus on embedding ESG across all our operations and business. During the year, we introduced our Sustainable Financing Framework and increased our transparency by disclosing the environmental impact of our activities through CDP as part of a series of measures aimed at integrating ESG principles in all the Group’s operations. Recognizing our role at the forefront of enabling sustainable economic development, we are also committed to the transition to a low-carbon, sustainable economy and support the New Kuwait Vision 2035.”

“In 2023, we will continue to build on the solid foundations we’ve established over the past 70 years, providing sustained growth in our revenues and investments to expand our digital capabilities, driving equitable economic development and maintaining our position as a market leader with a notable impact in promoting economic growth.” Al-Sager concluded.

Key financial indicators for FY2022

• Net operating income of KD 1.0 billion (USD 3.3 billion), up 12.2% from 2021

• Customer deposits increased by 10.4% year-on-year to KD 20.2 billion (USD 65.9 billion)

• Total loans and advances grew by 6.5% year-on-year to KD 21.0 billion (USD 68.6 billion)

• Strong asset quality metrics, with NPL/gross loans ratio at 1.42% and an NPL coverage ratio of 267% • Robust Capital Adequacy Ratio of 17.4%, comfortably in excess of regulatory requirements

 

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