DUBAI, Jan 22 (Reuters) - National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), the Gulf Arab state’s largest commercial lender, reported a 5.4 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit, in line with analysts’ forecasts, according to Reuters calculations.
The bank made a net profit of 80.0 million dinars ($266.3 million) in the three months to Dec. 31, compared with 75.9 million dinars a year earlier, Reuters calculated based on annual financial statements in lieu of a quarterly breakdown.
The average forecast of three analysts polled by Reuters was for a quarterly net profit of 83 million dinars.
For the full year, NBK’s net profit rose by 9.2 percent from the year before to 322.4 million dinars.
It cited higher income from net interest, Islamic financing and investment for the improved annual performance. The rise in net interest income and income from Islamic financing was mainly because of strong growth in business banking and increases in benchmark interest rates, it added.
As the largest Kuwaiti lender, NBK has been the main beneficiary of strong public spending as the government pushes ahead with multi-billion dollar schemes such as the Clean Fuels Project to upgrade and expand two of Kuwait’s largest refineries and the building of the al-Zour refinery.
“Kuwait’s fiscal position is better than peers given the substantial buffers and strong sovereign ratings; creating room for acceleration in spending despite lower oil prices,” said chairman Nasser al-Sayer.
The bank said its board had recommended a cash dividend for 2017 of 0.03 dinars per share and 5 bonus shares for every 100 currently held, the same as for the previous year. ($1 = 0.3004 Kuwaiti dinars) (Reporting by Tom Arnold, editing by Louise Heavens)