National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), the Gulf state's largest lender, beat analysts' forecasts with a 37 percent rise in third-quarter net profit on Thursday, but criticised government policy for holding back growth.
The bank, which raised its stake in local lender Boubyan Bank to 58.3 percent, said quarterly profit rose to KWD108.1m (US$384.6m) in the three months to September 30, compared with KWD78.9m a year ago.
Six analysts in a Reuters poll had predicted KWD65.09m net profit on average.
It did not give a reason for the profit rise in the statement and it was not immediately clear if Boubyan Bank's results were consolidated into NBK's third-quarter numbers.
NBK's Group CEO, Ibrahim Dabdoub, has been a vocal critic of Kuwait's operating environment, making unusually strong comments for a business leader in the Gulf region.
"Government spending continues to be insufficient and the tendering of new projects has significantly lagged leading to a stagnant stock market performance and dormancy in economic activity," he said in a statement announcing the results.
The improvement in Kuwait's operating environment "now depends on developing a more dynamic fiscal policy, most importantly accelerating spending on mega projects," the statement added.
NBK got regulator approval for its US$431m purchase of a 11.05 percent stake in Boubyan Bank in July, taking its ownership to 58.34 percent.
Its shares have fallen 2.8 percent year-to-date on the Kuwait bourse, while Boubyan shares have risen 3.4 percent.For all the latest banking and finance news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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