National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), the Gulf Arab state’s largest commercial lender, reported a 15 per cent rise in first-quarter net profit, according to a bourse filing on Tuesday, boosted by income from the sale of its stake in a Qatari bank.
Net profit was KD96.52 million ($319.5 million) in the three months ended March, compared with KD83.94 million a year ago, the statement said.
Four analysts polled by Reuters on average forecast NBK would post a net profit of KD89.86 million.
The bank cited the increase in net investment income, which shot up to KD30.2 million from KD3.5 million in the corresponding period of 2014, as helping the profit increase, adding much of the gain came from sale proceeds from an equity associate, without elaborating.
NBK said in October it sold its 30 per cent stake in unlisted International Bank of Qatar for KD155 million, adding it would book a profit of KD25 million in its 2014 accounts from the deal — though this did not materialise in its fourth-quarter earnings statement.
Also boosting NBK’s first-quarter profit was an 8.8 per cent increase in net interest income to KD106.5 million, which the bank attributed to higher business volumes.
In common with several other Gulf banks, NBK has sought to bolster its capital in recent weeks. Earlier this month, it launched a $700 bond, which will enhance its Tier 1 — or core — capital.