“The Banker” names NBK “The Bank of the Year 2001 in the Middle East”

The Banker, the international Financial Times Business magazine, has awarded “The Bank of the Year 2001 in the Middle East” to National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), in its September issue.

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By  Massoud Derhally Published  September 10, 2001

The Banker, the international Financial Times Business magazine, has awarded “The Bank of the Year 2001 in the Middle East” to National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), in its September issue.

According to the magazine, continued strong performance and technical innovation make NBK not only a dominant force in Kuwait but also one of the most profitable and successful banks in the Arab world.

With record net profit in 2000 and again in the first half of 2001 and return on equity rising to 27.2%, NBK has consistently earned the highest credit rating awarded to any bank in the Middle East by the major rating agencies. Recent upgrades by Fitch and Moody’s now make it the highest rated bank in all emerging markets.

The Banker also refers to NBK as one of the most internationally focused of the Gulf banks, an approach that has enabled it to win the major share of foreign corporate business. Most importantly, it has made considerable progress in developing its regional business. These include retail and investment banking, but the most important developments have been in e-commerce, through business-to-business and business to customer initiatives.

The magazine praises NBK for its sophisticated information technology, considering it in a position to benchmark itself against global rather then national standards. It also states that NBK has created a sophisticated customer-focused, technology-powered retail operation, including insurance asset management and other online products.

Commenting on the award, NBK’s CEO, Ibrahim Dabdoub sees this regional title “a real pride for NBK and Kuwait. NBK is not the biggest Arab bank in terms of total assets, but surely it is one of the most profitable, innovative and successful ones and that is why we received this award,” said Dabdoub. Dabdoub added “receiving the highest credit rating among all banks in the Emerging Markets lately from Moody’s enhances NBK’s position as one of the most internationally focused Arab banks.”

The Banker, established in 1926, has been a trusted source of global financial intelligence. Its exclusive bank listings and banking coverage give it a unique perspective to reward excellence and innovation in banking. Many of the 106 country winners as well as the winners for the top regional, technology and investment banking awards, including NBK, attended the awards ceremony in London last week.

NBK recently launched the second class of Al Kawthar US Dollar Murabaha Fund, Class B, which invests according to Islamic Shariah. Investors, through the Fund, have the choice to either receive any trading profits on a monthly basis through Class A Units or reinvest them to the following month through Class B Units.

Al Kawthar US Dollar Murabaha Fund was first launched in May 2001 with Class A Units. The Fund, with its two Classes of Units, seeks to achieve competitive market returns and capital preservation through participation in Al-Ahli US Dollar Murabaha Fund, which engages in short-term murabaha-based investments, while offering monthly liquidity.

The initial offering period will start on the 9th of September and ends on the 20th of September 2001 at all NBK branches, and thereafter customers can subscribe, redeem or transfer between the Classes on a monthly basis. Subscription to the Fund is open to all investors and the minimum subscription is US$50,000, which may be invested in one Class or allocated between the Classes, with additional investments in any Class of at least US$5,000.

The Subscription Price for Class A Units will be fixed at US$1.00 and the initial Subscription Price for Class B Units will be set at US$1.00 and thereafter will equal the Net Asset Value per Unit on every Valuation Day.

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