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Wed 11 Mar 2009 02:34 AM

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Kuwait Finance House warns of tough Q1

Islamic lender may book provisions in 2009 as global credit crisis hits Kuwait.

The first quarter may be difficult and Islamic lender Kuwait Finance House could consider booking provisions in 2009 as the global crisis hits the Gulf Arab state, the bank's chairman said."The first quarter will be difficult, 2009 will be difficult for many," Bader al-Mukhaizeem told reporters after a shareholders' meeting on Tuesday.

"If there is a need to take provisions in 2009, we will take provisions," he said.

He declined to give a profit forecast for the quarter, saying only: "God willing, profit will be good" in accordance with market conditions.

Kuwait's biggest Islamic lender posted a profit dive in 2008 after it had taken 210.94 million dinars ($713.7 million) in provisions to help weather the economic crisis.

Full-year profit fell 43 percent to 156.9 million dinars, down from 275.27 million dinars in 2007. Reuters calculated a net loss of 63.7 million dinars in the fourth quarter, based on previous data.

Mukhaizeem said KFH, which has been expanding to Turkey, Asia and Australia to offset rising competition at home, is currently considering investment opportunities in Indonesia and Morocco. (Reuters)

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