Board proposes cash dividend of 35 fils per share, and 5% bonus shares
KUWAIT CITY, Jan 20: National Bank of Kuwait (“NBK”, the “Bank” or the “Group”), today announced its financial results for the year ended Dec 31, 2019. The Group delivered strong annual performance with net profit of KD 401.3 million (USD 1.3 billion) compared with KD 370.7 million (USD 1.2 billion) in 2018, increasing by 8.2% year-on-year.
Total assets in 2019 stood at KD 29.3 billion (USD 96.6 billion), increasing by 6.7%, with customer deposits increasing by 10.7% to reach KD 15.9 billion (USD 52.6 billion) and customer loans and advances growing by 6.8% to KD 16.6 billion (USD 54.6 billion). NBK’s Board of Directors has proposed the distribution of a cash dividend of 35 fils per share, representing 56.4% of net profit, in addition to 5% bonus shares.
The proposed dividend is subject to shareholders’ approval at the Annual General Meeting. Earnings per share (EPS) stood at 60 fils, as compared to 55 fils in 2018, and equity attributable to shareholders increased by 8.8% to KD 3.21 billion (USD 10.6 billion).
Nasser Musaed Abdulla Al-Sayer, NBK Group Chairman, commented: “2019 was another strong year as we delivered healthy profitability while maintaining a robust balance sheet – demonstrating the quality and diversity of both our operations and earnings. “The bank remains firmly committed to New Kuwait 2035 and is taking confident steps towards supporting its delivery. These financial results are driven by the execution of our strategy for growth and innovation, while contributing to the country’s socioeconomic development. “A highlight of the year was the heavy oversubscription of our USD 750 million perpetual tier-1 capital securities issuance, which was well-received by global fixed income investors and refl ects solid investor confi- dence in NBK.”
Net operating income grew by 1.4% to KD 895.5 million (USD 3.0 billion), while non-interest income increased by 7.0% to KD 206.3 million (USD 680.7 million). Our international operations continued to play an important role in mitigating Group-level risk and diversifying income from across geographies.
The total bottom line contribution of international operations accounted for 28% of the Group’s net profit in 2019.
Isam J. Al-Sager, NBK’s Group Chief Executive Officer, said: “Despite operating conditions remaining below expectations, with a volatile oil prices environment, NBK recorded another set of strong results, as the breadth of its operations and the scale of its international footprint mitigated risks and ensured consistent profitability. “Non-oil GDP growth in Kuwait is projected to reach 2.5% in 2020, and the pipeline of scheduled project awards is healthy. There is a broad expectation that the year will bring positive operating conditions, as the government continues to stimulate economic activity and the appetite for credit improves. “NBK is deeply committed to its digitalization strategy, in an effort to develop an established foothold in its regional markets. In 2019 we were proud to launch our in-house Digital Factory, which is playing a vital role in driving the progress of our digital roadmap. This will soon become a unique competitive advantage in the region.”
NBK’s asset quality metrics remained strong with the ratio of non-performing loans to gross loans at 1.10%, compared with 1.38% in 2018, and an NPL coverage ratio of 272.2%, compared with 228.1% in 2018. The Bank maintained healthy levels of capitalization, with a capital adequacy ratio of 17.8% at year-end, compared with 17.2% in 2018. This level of capitalization is aligned with the Group’s risk appetite and in excess of the Central Bank of Kuwait’s requirements.
Al-Sager concluded: “NBK’s strategy for 2020 will not deviate from its current trajectory. The Group will continue to increase the diversity of its income across geographies and segments, with the primary objective of achieving superior returns and offering exceptional service to customers.”
In 2019, NBK was recognized by Global Finance and The Banker as the Best Bank in Kuwait, as well as ranking in the World’s 50 Safest Banks list by Global Finance for the 14th consecutive time. The awards are evidence of NBK’s strong financial position, market leadership and of its ability to meet the ever-changing needs of its customers.