Kuwait: Gulf Bank, Kuwait's second largest commercial bank, has reported a record net profit of KD 105.9 million for 2006, an increase of 24% over the previous year's results
Operating income rose almost 16% to KD 154.2 million while total assets grew by more than 55% to surpass KD 4 billion for the first time. Gulf Bank again delivered record earnings per share in 2006, rising nearly 24% to 114.5 fils. The Board of Directors has recommended a cash dividend of 60-fils and 15% bonus share issue, a return of 24% for 2006.
"The exceptional performance and growth in 2006 underscores the success of Gulf Bank's highly disciplined customer-focused strategy," said Bassam Y. Alghanim, Gulf Bank's Chairman & Managing Director. "This is the Bank's seventh consecutive year of record earnings and profitability. We have maintained our position as one of the fastest growing banks in the region and these results resoundingly prove that Gulf Bank is always achieving more."
Customer deposits grew by 55% to KD 2.8 billion, while the loan book increased by more than 60% to KD 2.5 billion. Strong contributions to earnings and profit growth were delivered across the Bank's Retail, Corporate, International and Investment Banking Groups.
"The Retail Banking Group continued to demonstrate dynamic growth in the market with an expansion of its branch network and strong customer acquisition," commented Alghanim.
"The Corporate Banking Group achieved an outstanding performance in 2006 and is now acknowledged as the best Corporate team in the industry. The Treasury Group consolidated its market leadership in Foreign Exchange dealing and played a significant role in growing the Bank's customer deposit base.
"By creating innovative banking products and delivering superior customer service, Gulf Bank has further improved its competitive position in Kuwait's banking market. Gulf Bank is Kuwait's most technologically advanced bank, and is the first bank to introduce a personalized ATM service utilizing advanced software developed by NCR.
"Gulf Bank is setting a new industry benchmark for service and performance and we are well on our way to reaching our goal of becoming the no#1 local bank in Kuwait," Aighanim said.
Gulf Bank was again recognised for its excellence in 2006, awarded "Best Retail Bank in the Middle East" by the prestigious Banker Middle East magazine for the second consecutive year.
Gulf Bank also re-affirmed its position as a leading Kuwaiti employer, once again winning the Localisation Award from the GCC Council of Ministers for Social Affairs and Labour for achieving the highest rate of Kuwaitisation of any company in the country's private sector and for its investment in the development of the skills and abilities of Kuwaitis. The Bank's HR team again led the industry with its commitment to staff training and development and in 2006 Gulf Bank became the first Kuwaiti company to be awarded a coveted Stevie International Business Award for the best HR team.
Gulf Bank is one of the highest rated banks in the region. It is one of only seven banks in the GCC assigned an 'Aa3' long-term foreign currency deposit rating from Moody's Investors Service and enjoys strong ratings from Fitch Rating and Capital Intelligence ('A') and Standard & Poor's ('A-').
"These ratings reflect the strength of our financial performance, the quality of our assets and the effectiveness of our business strategy," Alghanim said.
"Gulf Bank looks to the future with great confidence. We are serving our customers with excellence, we are contributing to Kuwait's economic growth and prosperity and we continue to deliver an outstanding return on our shareholders' investment, Alghanim concluded.