Operating profit grew by 9.4% in bank’s 50th year of operations in Kuwait
KUWAIT: Building on its strong business performance from last year, Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait (ABK) announced its financial results for the fiscal year ending Dec 31, 2017 during a regular general assembly meeting held yesterday at the ABK’s headquarters, which was attended by 95.31 percent of shareholders.
ABK grew its operating income by 6.4 percent, from KD 147 million to KD 157 million, and its operating profit by 9.4 percent, from KD 89.4 million to KD 97.8 million. ABK reported a net profit of KD 35.7 million for the year, a growth of 10 percent, against KD 32.5 million in 2016. Earnings per share stood at 22 fils, compared to 20 fils in 2016. The bank continued to aggressively add to its total provisions, which reached KD 58 million in 2017 against KD 52.4 million in 2016. This was supported by impressive performances in Kuwait and Egypt.
Asset quality remained strong with the NPL ratio falling to 1.67 percent with an NPL coverage of 400 percent. Capital adequacy ratio was robust at 17.23 percent. In Egypt, the bank continued to expand its presence, with assets increasing 40 percent, loan and credit facilities growing by 52 percent and deposits up 46 percent. The ABK Board of Directors have proposed a distribution of 12 fils per share cash dividend compared to 11 fils in 2016, subject to the approval of ABK’s General Assembly Meeting.
Furthermore, ABK’s credit ratings remained constant with a rating of A2 from Moody’s and A+ from Fitch. This reflects the Bank’s healthy capital position and excellent liquidity, which is fully compliant with the Central Bank of Kuwait’s conservative and robust regulatory system.
Recognized by Global Finance Magazine as one of the top ten safest banks in the region and ranking No. 29th in Emerging Markets, ABK also received prestigious awards from Banker Middle East, Asian Banker, NASEBA, International Finance Magazine (IFM), Arabian Business Magazine, and The European, a Thomson Reuters Affiliate. This is attributed to the banks’ outstanding performance throughout the year including its successful implementation of the new Finacle core banking system in the UAE and Kuwait, as well as its investment in digital banking to maximize ABK’s reach across the region.
Earlier in the year, ABK further diversified its funding sources when it launched a successful debut senior bond issue of $500 million. This issue was enthusiastically received by the international financial markets and drew strong interest from investors in SE Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
Talal Mohammed Reza Behbehani, Chairman of ABK said : “Over the year we maintained our cautious approach, consolidating our financial position while embracing new opportunities for expanding our business across our markets, especially in Egypt. I am particularly proud that this success has been achieved through the close working relationships developed across the business at all levels. This year will go down as one of our most memorable years as we mark our 50th year of operations in the region. We will continue to demonstrate a cautious approach, consolidating our financial position while embracing new opportunities for expanding our business across our markets.”
Michel Accad, Chief Executive Officer at ABK commented, “Today, it is crucial to focus our attention on preparing the Bank to meet the growing needs of our customers. We are substantially simplifying our processes to ensure greater efficiency and drive revenue growth, and we are investing in new products, channels, customer service and information technology to improve the overall customer experience. At the same time ABK is at the forefront of the implementation and roll-out of the new International Financial Reporting Standard IFRS9 from the beginning of 2018, as well as for the forthcoming introduction of Value Added Tax (VAT) in Kuwait.”
This year, ABK’s commitment to ‘Simpler Banking’ was further strengthened through numerous enhancements including the launch of the new core banking system in its UAE and Kuwait operations. This new system, which will also be introduced in ABK – Egypt, will ensure customers receive consistent service, regardless of where their ABK account is held, through greater interaction within the bank’s systems, and increased efficiency in responding to customer needs and requests.
Fawzy Al-Thunayan, General Manager, Board Affairs, said that ABK doesn’t have expansion plans currently. “We are present in Kuwait, UAE and Egypt, and these three markets are enough for this moment, unless a new attractive opportunity arises. Egypt has the highest growth – it started smaller but it’s growing faster,” he pointed out during a press conference held after the general meeting.
ABK is ready to apply the International Finance Reporting System (IFRS9). “The bank is very well prepared for implementing the IFRS9. It depends on the implementation, and if we implement it fully, then we won’t need any precautionary provisions. We are waiting for the guidelines of the Central Bank, which we may receive next week. Anyway, the impact will be positive or neutral on the bank, as the requirements will be equal or less than the precautionary provisions,” stressed Accad.
Abdullah Al-Sumait, Deputy Chief General Manager, noted that the bank has big potential in Egypt. “Egypt accounts for almost 20 percent of total profits. In the past the bank was very small and had no activities, so it was easy to grow from scratch very fast. Also, the economic environment in Egypt has improved a lot. We have chosen the Egypt market for expansion due to the various governmental projects taking place now. The growth outside the GCC tends to be faster, as there are more opportunities,” he stated.
By Nawara Fattahova