Kuwait's NBK reports full-year profit up 1%

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National Bank of Kuwait, the Gulf state's largest lender, said full year profit increased about 1 percent, even though the banking industry in the country was sluggish overall. 

The Kuwait-based bank said net profit increased to US$1.085bn in 2012 from US$1.075bn the year before. 

"NBK managed to deliver a strong set of results for the year notwithstanding the ongoing challenges. 2012 was a turbulent year for the banking sector in Kuwait as the operating environment remained stagnant," Ibrahim Dabdoub, NBK’s Group CEO said in a statement.

"Government spending was insufficient and the tendering of new projects remained behind schedule, leading to slower economic activity and an underperforming stock market," Dabdoub said, adding "the geopolitical tensions led to further pressures on the business sentiment both locally and in the region".

Economic growth in the country was projected to slow to 6.3 percent last year from 8.2 percent in 2011, according to International Monetary Fund estimates. Growth in the emirate is set to slow further in 2013, falling to 1.9 percent, according to the Washington-based organisation.  

NBK Group’s total assets increased about 20 percent to US$58.4bn last year, from US$48.5bn in 2011, while total group shareholders’ equity increased 6 percent to US$8.2bn in the same period.

The operating environment in the country should improve as the government spends more on infrastructure projects.

"The recent directions from the highest authority and the proposed measures to boost economic activity and spur growth are expected to lift the overall sentiment and create new opportunities in the local economy," said Dabdoub.

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