Kuwait's NBK posts 29% rise in Q2 net profit

National Bank of Kuwait, the Gulf state's largest lender, makes $215m profit in three months to June 30

National Bank of Kuwait , the Gulf Arab state's largest commercial lender, reported a 29 percent rise in second-quarter profit on Wednesday but missed analysts' estimates.

Net profit climbed to KD60.9 million ($215.8 million) in the three months to June 30 from KD47.2 million a year earlier, according to Reuters calculations based on the bank's first-half financial statement.

However, the result was well short of the KD74.8 million average forecast of analysts in a Reuters poll

For the first half of this year, profit rose 12.6 percent year-on-year to KD144.8 million, the bank said, citing what it described as a continuing improvement in Kuwait's operating environment.

"There is a noticeable improvement in the process of tendering, award and execution of the large infrastructure projects, which has also reflected positively on the overall private sector sentiment and accordingly on banks' credit growth," said Isam al-Sager, appointed NBK's chief executive in February.

NBK's loans and advances rose 9.6 percent year-on-year to stand at KD11.3 billion, the bank said.

That compared to a 6.2 percent rise in combined bank lending growth to the private sector in Kuwait during May, the slowest increase since September 2013, according to the latest data from the central bank.

Loan growth helped boost NBK's total assets to KD20 billion on June 30, up 11.7 percent on the same point of 2013. However, compared with the end of March, assets fell 2.5 percent, according to Reuters calculations.

Kuwait's long-delayed KD30 billion economic development plan, announced in late 2010, has been hindered by political infighting and chronic bureaucracy.

In recent months there have been signs that some economic projects are gaining steam, though political tensions have continued to weigh on the stock market, causing it to underperform markets in other rich Gulf states.

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