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Mon 8 Oct 2007 03:00 PM

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NBK on track to hit full-year growth target

Kuwait's biggest lender expected to report robust growth in Q3, net income up 15.6%.

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), the country's biggest lender by market value, is expected to report robust growth in the third quarter when it kicks off the Gulf Arab state's earnings season.

Analysts at Global Investment House expect net profit to grow by 15.6% to 70.37 million dinars ($251.3 million), which would put the lender on track for its goal of profit growth of around 15% in 2007.

"Corporate [banking] remains robust on the back of government spending on infrastructure," said Global banking analyst Mihir Marfatia.

Daily Al-Qabas said in an unsourced report on Monday the bank, which is expanding abroad to offset rising competition at home, is expected to boost earnings per share by 3.5% to around 111 fils in the first nine months.

Chief Executive Ibrahim Dabdoub told Reuters in September the bank expected net profit to exceed $1 billion for the first time this year if recent acquisitions of AlWatany Bank of Egypt and a 40% stake in Istanbul's Turkish Bank were not included. Both deals are still pending approval.

Marfatia said the benefits of the two acquisitions would be seen only from 2008.

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