Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait (ABK) Holds Ordinary and Extraordinary General Assembly Meetings for the Financial Year Ended 31 December 2023

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Kuwait City, Mar 31: Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait (ABK) held its Ordinary and Extraordinary General Assembly Meetings for the financial year ended 31 December 2023, attended by 90.58% of the shareholders. Mr. Talal Behbehani, Chairman of the Board of Directors (BOD), presided over the meeting with the participation of Mr. Abdulla Al Sumait, Acting Group Chief Executive Officer, and members of the BOD and Executive Management. This is in addition to representatives of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Kuwait Clearing Company, and external auditors.

The General Assembly approved all items on the agenda, including the directors’ and financial auditors’ reports. Furthermore, the BOD’s recommendation to distribute 9% cash dividends (9 fils per share), and 5% bonus shares (5 shares for every 100 shares) to ABK’s shareholders for the 2023 financial year was approved.

Significant Growth

Commenting on this occasion, Mr. Behbehani announced, “The ABK Group has achieved significant growth in most financial indicators in 2023. Profits increased by 40% to KD 45.2 million, earnings per share (EPS) rose by 46% to 19 fils, and Operating Profit grew by 7% to reach KD 97.1 million.”

He added that the Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) stood at 16.74%, and Non-Performing Loans (NPL) ratio at 1.33% with NPL coverage at 445%.

In addition, Total Assets stood at KD 6.3 billion, indicating ABK’s healthy financial position and robust balance sheet. ABK also maintained steady growth in Loans and Advances, which amounted to KD 4.3 billion, a growth of 5%.

In his speech, Mr. Behbehani highlighted that, thanks to its strategic plans, the ABK Group has succeeded in overcoming economic challenges locally and regionally. This has contributed to successfully enhancing its competitive position in the banking sector within Kuwait and in the regional markets in which it operates in Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Added Value

Mr. Behbehani added that the Group is keen on enhancing and protecting shareholder value through its prudent balance sheet management and providing healthy returns to the shareholders. Furthermore, the Group continues to explore opportunities to enhance operations with several initiatives taken during 2023.

ABK Group’s current international operations in Egypt and the UAE experienced significant growth in 2023. The Group opened four modern branches in Egypt with cutting-edge digital technologies while the DIFC branch played a key role in facilitating several syndicated loans covering the GCC, Europe, and Asia.

The Chairman emphasized that in 2023, the Group also focused on meeting the standards set by Boursa Kuwait and the Capital Market Authority (CMA), leading to its upgrade to Boursa Kuwait’s Premier Market, effective since 11 February 2024. This is expected to boost trading of ABK’s shares among international institutions, global funds, and market index followers.

Mr. Behbehani affirmed that the ABK Group remains committed to enhancing its transformation strategy by innovating digital banking solutions, products, and services. He said, “The goal is to increase market share across all sectors and cater to the evolving needs of customers.”

Confidence

Mr. Behbehani stated that the Group is prepared to contribute to financing development and infrastructure projects in alignment with Kuwait Vision 2035. He expressed confidence in the enhancement of economic activity in the future due to various reforms and economic decisions by authorities. This is in line with the International Monetary Fund’s projection of a 3.6% GDP growth this year, which surpasses the expected growth both in the GCC and globally.

On the topic of global strength, Mr. Behbehani highlighted that the ABK Group maintains solid credit ratings with A from Fitch and A2 from Moody’s. These signify the high level of trust the Group has garnered from both local and international institutions.

Finally, the Chairman expressed gratitude to the Central Bank of Kuwait, the Capital Market Authority, Boursa Kuwait, Kuwait Clearing Company, the Central Bank of Egypt, and the Central Bank of the UAE for their dedicated efforts and support to the banking sector. He said, “Their contributions have played a significant role in ensuring the sector’s stability. I would like to emphasize the Group’s ongoing commitment to collaborate with and adhere to all regulatory requirements set by these institutions.”

He also shared his appreciation to the BOD, Executive Management, and all employees for their efforts that led to ABK’s exceptional performance in 2023. He encouraged everyone to strive for further excellence to elevate ABK Group’s competitive standing in the banking industry.

Keeping Abreast of Developments

On his part, Mr. Al Sumait said, “During 2023, we continued to implement our plans to keep pace with the developments in the banking industry, and meet the ever-changing needs of customers. As such, we launched several diverse banking products, solutions, and services that suit the lifestyle of each segment of customers.”

He mentioned that the ABK Group has progressed with its digital transformation initiative by introducing the first digital branch at Al Khiran Mall featuring hologram technology, a pioneering concept in the local market. He clarified that future endeavors will include the launch of additional digital branches to offer seamless and advanced services for customers, ensuring round-the-clock access without the necessity of regular visits to physical bank branches for transactions.

Diverse Awards

Mr. Al Sumait disclosed that in 2023, the ABK Group received numerous awards for its outstanding performance across retail, corporate, governance, asset management, and human resources sectors. This is in addition to the recognition of ‘Fastest Growing Bank’ in Egypt. He said, “These achievements underscore the team’s dedication to enhancing performance and elevating productivity to peak levels in the banking sector. Furthermore, it demonstrates the success in earning the trust of international institutions specialized in evaluating and studying banking and finance indicators.”

Let’s Be Aware

Mr. Al Sumait took the opportunity to reaffirm ABK’s ongoing support for the Central Bank of Kuwait and Kuwait Banking Association’s ‘Let’s Be Aware’ campaign. The banking awareness campaign aims to enhance financial literacy in Kuwaiti society by introducing banking services, products, various types of bank loans, and educating customers about bank fraud prevention and related topics.

Advancements in Products and Services

Mr. Al Sumait also noted a series of significant developments in 2023, such as joining AFAQ, the Gulf payment system; the introduction of Swift Go for transfers; digital payment solutions, such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay; and Turkish Lira transfers through the Multi-currency Freedom prepaid card. These initiatives cater to the diverse needs of retail banking customers and companies, showcasing the Bank’s commitment to staying abreast of advancements in the banking industry.

Mr. Al Sumait disclosed that 2023 also saw the introduction of a wide array of new offers, campaigns, and products designed to address customers’ needs and enhance their satisfaction during banking transactions with ABK cards and its diverse solutions. Emphasizing the importance of ongoing research to consistently meet and attract customers.

Attracting New Talent

In addition to attracting new customers, the ABK Group actively engaged in multiple career fairs at universities and prominent institutions in the local market throughout 2023, aiming to recruit skilled individuals to join various divisions with a focus on achieving an 80% national employment rate.

Furthermore, Mr. Al Sumait elaborated on ABK Group’s commitment to organizing training programs for employees in collaboration with specialized partners to enhance their performance and drive innovation.

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG)

Mr. Al Sumait also unveiled ABK’s focus on developing an ESG strategy through a 5-year plan comprising six core pillars: climate, responsible banking, community investment, governance, employee empowerment, and financial inclusion. He highlighted the Group’s dedication to this through the publication of its third annual sustainability report for 2022.

Mr. Al Sumait also discussed ABK’s participation in the COP28 UAE – United Nations Climate Change Conference in the United Arab Emirates. He said, “This underscores the Group’s commitment to combating climate change and acknowledging it as a dynamic and intricate challenge, positioning it as a top priority.”

Corporate Social Responsibility

ABK is dedicated to enhancing its social responsibility initiatives to solidify its position as a responsible financial and banking institution in Kuwait.

In 2023, the Bank sponsored various events, such as High Highness the Amir Cup final football match, High Highness the Crown Prince Cup final football match, the Porsche Kuwait Club Festival, the National Union of Kuwait Students (NUKS) in the United Kingdom, and the Amiri Hospital Health Day. Additionally, ABK provided support to Bayt Abdullah Children’s Hospice, distributed iftar meals and food aid during Ramadan, and actively participated in other events that garnered significant community engagement.

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