National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), the largest Kuwaiti bank, reported net profits of $844 million ( KWD 238.1 million ) for the year 2013 compared with $1,082 million ( KWD 305.1 million ) in 2012. Adjusting for the $289 million ( KWD 81.5 million ) exceptional gains recognized in 2012 on the consolidation of Boubyan Bank , net profits recorded a 6.5 per cent year on year growth. As of end of 2013, NBK Group's total assets reached $66.0 billion ( KWD 18.6 billion ) up 12.8 per cent compared to year-end 2012, while total shareholders' equity increased by 3.3 per cent year on year to $8.4 billion ( KWD 2.37 billion ). Loans and advances reached $37.9 billion ( KWD 10.7 billion ) at year-end 2013 up 8.5 per cent compared to year-end 2012 and customer deposits reached $37.1 billion ( KWD 10.5 billion ), up 10.2 per cent compared to last year. Asset quality ratios continued to improve with non-performing loans (NPL) to gross loans ratio dropping to 1.96 per cent in year-end 2013 from 2.75 per cent in 2012 and NPL coverage ratio increasing to 200 per cent at year-end 2013 from 157 per cent last year. NBK's board of directors has recommended a cash dividend of 30 fils per share (30 per cent of the par value) and five per cent bonus shares. Ibrahim Dabdoub , NBK's Group Chief Executive Officer said, "NBK's profits for the year affirm the group's strong financial position, market leadership and its conservative strategy, all contributing to the high credit ratings ahead of regional and international financial institutions. "We continued to focus on core banking business across our locations. In the year 2013, excluding the exceptional gain recognized last year, NBK's net operating income grew by 10.2 per cent year on year to $2,220 million ( KWD 626.3 million )," Dabdoub added. Dabdoub also confirmed that the domestic operating environment continued to improve and the overall outlook is turning more positive. "We have started witnessing some acceleration in the tendering, award and execution of some of the large projects as the government proves determined to advance the execution of the development plan." Strategically, Dabdoub also highlighted that NBK is progressively implementing its income diversification strategy. "Our regional and international strategy remains on track. We are focusing our efforts on the GCC countries to leverage NBK's strong franchise there and to benefit from the strong economic outlook and the growth opportunities available. In 2013 NBK Group's international banking profits grew by 9.5 per cent year on year confirming the strength of NBK's international operations. Moreover, our expansion into Islamic banking through the acquisition of 58.4 per cent of Boubyan Bank continues to pay off as Boubyan's contribution to the group's profitability and balance sheet increases over time," Dabdoub added.
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