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A General Assembly Meeting in progress
KIPCO registers KD 40.1 million profit in ’13, revenues rise 28% General Assembly approves 20 fills dividend

KUWAIT CITY, March 31: Kuwait Projects Company (KIPCO) registered a profit of KD 40.1 million in 2013 seeing a 28% increase in total revenues from continuing operations, touching KD 513 million. This was announced at KIPCO’s annual Shafafiya Forum held Monday. The company’s consolidated assets increased to KD 8.6 billion from KD 7.2 billion in 2012. The General Assembly approved to pay shareholders a cash dividend of 20 fils per share and 5 % stock dividend.

Negative
KIPCO’s Vice Chairman, Faisal Hamad Al Ayyar, said the only time the company registered a negative growth was during invasion. This was the 22md consecutive year of profitability. Outlining the company’s highpoints in 2013, Faisal Al Ayyar said KIPCO has given investors the best returns with an increase of up to 72 %, which is 2.5 times better than Kuwait Stock Exchange. In 2013, KIPCO’s aim was to increase revenues, and achieved a profit of KD 40 million from KD 33 million in 2012. Nearly all the KIPCO Group companies showed double digit growth last year, and exceeded expectations. Burgan Bank grew 33 %, OSN 29%, Gulf Insurance Company 13%, and United Real Estate Company 8%.

Burgan Bank topped its sector in terms of revenues, and was also leading in the growth of loans in the market, Al Ayyar noted. “The bank has 224 branches in Kuwait, which is way more than other banks. Burgan Bank’s revenues come from 6 countries, and it is one of the most diversified companies in Kuwait. About 65 % of the bank’s revenues come from outside of Kuwait.” The bank’s operating profits before provisions increased by 18%, and recorded an annualized growth of 17% in loans and advances, and 19% growth in customer deposits. Jointly with UGB, Burgan Bank acquired a stage of 49% in FIMBank, Malta. S&P revised Burgan Bank’s outlook from negative to stable.

Talking about the bank’s future prospects, Al Ayyar said according to conservative estimates Burgan Bank is set to increase its assets by 10% between 2013 and 2016, and the operating profits are headed for a 15% increase. Another of KIPCO Group companies that showed great performance last year was OSN. “It had the fastest growth both in subscriptions and profits. The subscriber base increased 35% while subscription revenues shot up 32%. It has no local comparison and is present in 28 countries. Kuwait alone has over 70,000 subscribers.” Al Ayyar said he is expecting to see double digit growth in revenues for the next 3 years for OSN, adding $1 million.

Gulf Insurance Group maintained market leadership in Kuwait, Bahrain and Jordan out of the nine that it’s present in. The group has been winning an A-rating from S&P and AM for two straight years. The group was awarded the Best Insurance Provider in the Middle East award by Global Banking. Gulf Insurance Group registered a net profit of 10% to KD 10.2 million, and increased gross written premium by 8% to KD 157 million. The company’s consolidated assets surged 7.4 %. The future focus of the group would be to continue the growth graph, with an acquisition of 49 % stakes in Algeria Insurance due soon. In the next five years, the group is targeting a double premium growth of $1 billion. United Real Estate Company has never been in the red, Al Ayyar noted. “It is one of the largest realty companies in the region. The company achieved a net profit of KD 11.2 million, increasing operational profits by 94%.”

The company disposed off non-earning assets in Kuwait and Qatar last year, and issued KD 60 million bond. The five year bond was over-subscribed by almost 50% and was rated BBB- with a positive outlook by Capital Intelligence. The majority of the bond proceeds were used to extend URC’s debt profile. The company is eyeing a profit of $35 million when its $500 million project winds up. United Industries Company deleveraged KD 23.2 million in the past 12 months and achieved a 38% growth in market capital expansion. UIC increased its stake in Qurain Petrochemicals by an additional 10.8%, bringing its take in the company to 29.3%. On the subject of the KIPCO’s investment in the educational sector, Al Ayyar said there are more than 12,000 students studying in the company’s various educational institutions in Kuwait. He was excited about a new school that opened recently, providing high standards in all aspects. The school has kindergarten classes currently and will soon expand to include classes till plus 2. The expected growth of student strength is 10 to 15 % every year.

By Valiya S. Sajjad
Arab Times Staff

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