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Standard & Poor’s: NBK’s ratings affirmed on criteria change, outlook stable

• Standard & Poor’s: NBK’s ratings reflect its strong business position, capital, and earnings, as well as its adequate risk position, funding, and liquidity
• The stable outlook reflects our belief that NBK’s overall business and financial profile will remain resilient
• NBK’s asset quality has proven resilient unlike most of its domestic peers


Following a review of all banks and financial institutions in the MENA region, the credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s affirmed the long-term credit ratings of National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) at A+. All the bank’s ratings carry a stable outlook.
“Our ratings on NBK reflect its strong business position and capital and earnings, as well as its adequate risk position, funding, and liquidity,” said Standard & Poor’s in its latest report on NBK. “The stable outlook reflects our belief that NBK’s overall business and financial profile will remain resilient through the cycle,” the agency added.
Standard & Poor’s stressed that NBK enjoys an adequate risk position with a proven track record of resilience. NBK’s nonperforming loans/gross loans ratio was a low 1.6% on June 30, 2011, with good coverage of provisions.
Standard & Poor’s said: “NBK’s balance sheet size and business position enable it to cherry-pick the highest-quality customers. Additionally, we note that the bank’s asset quality has proven resilient so far, unlike most of its domestic peers.”
The agency pointed out that NBK’s “business position is strong, underpinned by the bank’s leading position in Kuwait, long track record of good and stable performance, and good management.” It added that NBK is the largest bank in Kuwait. NBK’s earnings by segment and geography tend to be well diversified.
Standard & Poor’s assesses NBK’s capital and earnings as strong. “We assume NBK will continue to conservatively manage its domestic and overseas organic growth.”
NBK has consistently been awarded the highest credit ratings of all banks in the region by the major international rating agencies: Moody's, Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings. In 2011, NBK was recognized as the “Best Bank in the Middle East” by leading international financial publications Euromoney, Global Finance and The Banker for the second consecutive year.

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