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Sun 1 Mar 2009 05:41 PM

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Kuwait's NBK bank on course to match Q1-2008 profit - CEO

National Bank of Kuwait chief does not see need for provisions in 2009, for the time being.

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) is on course to match last year's first-quarter net profit and does not see for the time being the need for provisions in 2009, its top executive said on Sunday."It will be a good (first) quarter, I don't think it will be tough," Chief Executive Ibrahim Dabdoub told Reuters on the sidelines of a meeting with Saudi businessmen in Riyadh.

Asked if the bank's profit in the first quarter of 2009 promises to match that of the same period of last year, Dabdoub said: "So far it has been matched ... Matching it will be good".

NBK, Kuwait's largest lender by assets, posted a net profit of 82 million dinars ($279.4 million) in the three months to March 31 of last year.

The bank's net profit in the fourth-quarter however plunged to less than a quarter of its level in the same period of 2007 partly on provisions to offset the impact of the global financial crisis.

The first two months of 2009 indicate that NBK will meet its initial projection for a net profit for 2009 that will be equal to the 255.3 million dinars it made last year, Dabdoub said.

For the moment, NBK does not see a need for additional provisions in 2009. "It depends on how things develop as we go on. For now things seem to be ok," he said.

Dabdoub said he thinks the bank has seen the worse of the global crisis' impact on NBK's earnings. "I'm optimistic," he said. (Reuters)

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