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Sat 13 Mar 2010 02:22 PM

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Kuwait's CBK says took $648m in provisons

Bank has $319m of retained earnings available as additional cushion.

Commercial Bank of Kuwait (CBK) reported KD130.9m ($454.7m) in profits before provisions in 2009, but said it had taken hefty provisions to cover loans and investments."As at 31st December 2009, the bank has a total of 186.6 million dinars ($648.1 million) of post liberation provisions ...," the bank, one of Kuwait's largest lenders, said in a statement.

"In addition to the loan and investment provisions, the bank has KD91.9m ($319m) of retained earnings available as an additional cushion," the statement said.

The statement did not give detailed figures for annual results and company officials were not available to comment.

"While we believe that the government and the Central Bank of Kuwait have taken the right action to support the economy, the outlook remains uncertain and we remain carefully optimistic," Abdulmajeed al-Shatti, the bank's chairman and managing director, said in the statement.

The bank had reported a profit of 100.7 million dinars in 2008.

Ratings agencies said in February that banks in Kuwait and Dubai would face a tougher 2010 than their Gulf peers as lenders in the region continue to take provisions against bad credit, which will curtail profits.  ($1=0.2879 Kuwaiti dinar) (Reuters)

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