Business

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia July 2021 – Upon completing all necessary conditions and obtaining all regulatory approvals, the founding shareholders of Red Sea Gateway Terminal Limited (RSGT) have officially completed their 40% RSGT equity sale to the Public Investment Fund (PIF) and COSCO SHIPPING Ports Limited (CSPL) (20% each). The transactions imply an enterprise value for RSGT of USD 880 million and a total gross inflow of equity value for the founding shareholders USD 280 million. The founding shareholders will reduce their combined shareholding to 60%.

PIF is the economic engine of Vision 2030, driving the diversification of Saudi Arabia’s economy. The investment in RSGT is in line with PIF’s 2021-2025 strategy that focuses on 13 key priority sectors, including Transport and Logistics. The location is on the main East-West trade routes, with close proximity to the main cargo end destinations on the West Coast of Saudi Arabia and captures significant intra-Red Sea trans-shipment cargo volumes. The investment will help to transform RSGT into both a regional and global logistics hub in line with PIF’s mission of unlocking new economic opportunities locally and globally. 

RSGT will benefit and enhance its value proposition with the support of and a leading global ports operator like CSPL, which they will bring new momentum to the growth of RSGT’s business volume. Both new shareholders will help drive future growth on seaside and landside logistics.

Jens O. Floe, CEO of RSGT, said, “This is a significant milestone for RSGT’s, demonstrating both our strength a business and the confidence which the industry and investment community have in our strategic planning and implementation. Working closely with PIF and CSPL, we will accelerate our shared vision, further strengthen our customer offering, and elevate our mandate to meet the increasing demand for terminal and logistics services. RSGT will continue to focus on developing a niche emerging market operator with a keen focus on ports in the Red Sea and East Africa.”

Having commenced operation in 2009, RSGT is located at the world-class Jeddah Islamic Port, a crucial logistics hub serving as a global trade nexus linking Asia, Europe, and Africa, as well as an increasingly important regional business center.

Moreover, RSGT continues to bring excellence to the trade with the 30-year concession (“BOT agreement”) with Saudi Arabian Ports Authority (“Mawani”) – announced in late 2019 and commenced in April 2020. RSGT assumed the operations of the North Container Terminal in Jeddah Islamic Port and has significantly expanded its handling capacity from 2.5 million TEU to 5.2 million TEU, becoming the largest container terminal in KSA. Throughout the concession period, RSGT’s annual throughput capacity is envisaged to grow to about 9 million TEU following an investment plan of USD 1.7 billion in infrastructure, equipment, and technology. 

RSGT will remain an independent terminal operator, servicing its customers across the global logistics chain. It will also continue to focus on the development, construction, operation, and maintenance of port terminals and on logistics services.

“Moving forward, a key element of RSGT’s ongoing development plan, beyond domestic and targeted international expansion, is to further develop our modern port and supply chain facilities enabling us to better meet the needs of our global and local customers”, added Jens O. Floe.

  • The first fragrance in the new ‘Amir’ collection - ‘Amir One’ is an ode to Ajmal’s seven decades of heritage and craftsmanship in the art of oriental perfumery
  • The signature fragrance is crafted by the CEO of Ajmal Perfumes, Mohd. Amiruddin Ajmal

 

13 July, 2021, Kuwait:  Ajmal Perfumes, a brand with rich heritage and seven decades of craftsmanship in the intricate art of perfumery launches the new ‘Amir’ collection. The exclusive signature scent, ‘Amir One’ is crafted for connoisseurs, to complement their sheer sophistication and set them apart from the ordinary.

Each ingredient from the exhilarating scent is personally hand-picked by Master Perfumer and CEO, Mohd. Amiruddin Ajmal to bring out the sublime essence of ‘Amir One’ to life, creating its own niche.

The fragrance highlights oriental art of perfumery with fresh and comforting top notes of Citrusy Aromatic top of Bergamot, Lemon, Lavender followed by floral woody heart notes of Rose, Jasmine, Lily of The Valley settled on the classic luxurious base of Musky Ambery Oudhy notes. The signature perfume invokes a reminiscent experience with a lasting bold imprint.

“The ‘Amir’ collection from Ajmal Perfumes is an exclusive scent created with three key words in mind - sophistication, luxury, and uniqueness.  The alluring fragrances add a new essence of regality and is available for both him and her. 'Amir One' - the 1st fragrance offering from the ‘Amir’ collection is a timeless homage to the 7 decades of magical mystique in oriental perfumery. The splendid new 'Amir One' is carefully crafted for connoisseurs who desire to encompass a bespoke blend. This fragrance exudes power, experience, and luxury” - says Deputy COO, Abdulla Ajmal, Ajmal perfumes

The rich full-bodied fragrance ‘Amir One’ is now available at Ajmal Showrooms and Online @shop.ajmalperfume.com for 53 KD for 50 ml across the GCC markets.

 

 

 

About Ajmal Perfumes:

Inspired by the glorious Orient, Ajmal began its perfumery journey with the world’s oldest form of fragrances – Perfume oils. Over the last 70 years, Ajmal has created a unique niche in the world of perfumery in the Middle East, as Producers | Manufacturers | Retailers & Distributors. Ajmal offers a plethora of fine Western and Oriental fragrances and are renowned for its expertise in bringing the most exquisite Oudh and Oudh related products. Ajmal’s retail presence spans across 240 exclusive showrooms within the GCC and the world.

https://www.ajmalperfume.com/

Our Strong Network getting STRONGER: Al Muzaini, a renowned financial solutions provider and the leading exchange house in Kuwait, has opened its 114th Branch & 10th Branch at Salmiya, Block-12, Mugera Bin Shubaa St, Building-13.

The New branch which was inaugurated by Mr.Hugh Fernandes, General Manger of Al Muzaini, along with senior officials on Sunday,4th July 2021. The new branch offers customers a broad range of financial services like instant bank transfers, instant money transfers, foreign currency exchange & Corporate/Trade transfers, with best rates and faster turnaround time on transactions, all days of the week.

Mr.Hugh Fernandes, General Manager of Al Muzaini Exchange said: It is our vision to make financial services accessible to all. Along with our Strong Network across Kuwait, Al Muzaini Digital Payment platform available in App Store, Google Play & App Gallery, provides secure and simplified one-stop financial solution with more unique features such as, New Customer Registration, Adding New Beneficiary, Setting rate alerts, Rate trends , Transaction history , Western Union Transfer and more in just few clicks, from anywhere, anytime.

 

  • The first official photographs of the special version of the 812 Superfast were made available today
  • The model’s name and further technical information will be revealed on May 5 during a live-streamed event on Ferrari’s social media channels
  • The ultimate expression of Ferrari DNA: exclusivity, a racing soul and the pinnacle of automotive innovation
  • Naturally-aspirated V12 unleashes 830 cv at 9,500 rpm for a sensation of endless power and performance

 

Maranello, April 21 2021 – The first official images of Ferrari’s latest limited-edition special series have been published in the build-up to its world premiere, which will be broadcast live on the Maranello marque’s social media channels on May 5 at 14:30 CEST.

 

The new model is the ultimate expression of Ferrari’s concept of an extreme front-engined berlinetta, honing the characteristics of the critically-acclaimed 812 Superfast to a level never seen before. The result is a car that encapsulates and epitomises the company’s 70-plus years of experience on the world’s circuits, drawing on its thoroughbred sports car DNA to deliver a perfect marriage of performance, form, and function. Aimed at Ferrari’s most passionate collectors and connoisseurs, it features numerous uncompromising engineering solutions to guarantee peerless driving pleasure.

 

As is the case with all Ferrari’s cars, the most striking feature lies at its very heart: in this instance the latest evolution of Maranello’s legendary 65° V12 engine, which reaches the highest output of any Ferrari road-car engine – 830 cv – and revs to 9,500 rpm, again the highest of any Ferrari ICE. The use of state-of-the-art materials, the redesign of many of the engine’s key components, a new valve timing mechanism and a new exhaust system are just some of the technical solutions that allow the most noble of Ferrari engines to deliver performance levels that are unprecedented in the V12 segment.

 

 

The pure yet brutal power unleashed by the powertrain is paired with class-leading vehicle dynamics controls to ensure that the performance can be fully exploited and to guarantee maximum fun behind the wheel. Most distinctive of these solutions is the adoption of independent steering on all four wheels. This extends the feeling of agility and precision when cornering as well as providing unparalleled responsiveness to steering inputs. Another noteworthy engineering achievement is the development work undertaken to reduce the car’s overall weight compared to the 812 Superfast. This was achieved in particular by extensive use of carbon fibre, both on the exterior and in the cockpit. Lastly, the new model premieres version 7.0 of the renowned Side Slip Control vehicle dynamics system.

 

One of the most striking aspects of this new model is how in-depth aerodynamic research has altered the car’s lines. Working in close synergy with the Ferrari Styling Centre, the aerodynamicists have adopted solutions that are extreme in form featuring profiles that are unprecedented for a road-legal car. The aerodynamic redesign of the whole car was aimed at maximising downforce levels: from the new front air intakes, rear diffuser and exhaust configuration to the patented design of the rear screen – which now hosts vortex generators – every modification is a faithful expression of Ferrari’s core belief that form must always follow function.

 

From a design point of view, this new special series has a strong personality all of its own that differentiates it significantly from the 812 Superfast on which it is based: this was achieved by choosing styling themes that further enhance the architectural design and dynamism of the 812 Superfast, pushing its sporty vocation to new extremes.

 

One example of this is the decision to replace the glass rear screen with a single-piece aluminium structure. The vortex generators it sports improve the car’s aerodynamic efficiency, but the design solution chosen, which is fully integrated with the roof, simultaneously creates a backbone effect that underscores the car’s sculptural forms.

 

Together with the carbon-fibre blade that traverses the bonnet, this motif changes the overall perception of the car’s volumes: the bonnet seems shorter, emphasising the width of the car, and the tail now has a more powerful, fastback look, thus making it appear more compact and competition-like despite it sharing the 812 Superfast’s silhouette, proportions and formal balance. Even the rear spoiler now looks more imposing: it is higher but the specific design treatment used also makes the tail look very wide, almost horizontal.

 

The interior architecture very much reflects that of the 812 Superfast, retaining the main dash and door panel interfaces and volumes, including the signature diapason motif. Along with other elements of the interior, the door panel has been redesigned to reduce weight and, combined with the introduction of the H-gate theme on the tunnel, this lends the cockpit a sportier, more modern edge that reflects the car’s racing spirit.

 

Images of the new model are available on www.media.ferrari.com  

22 April 2021 (Geneva) -- The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects net airline industry losses of $47.7 billion in 2021 (net profit margin of -10.4%). This is an improvement on the estimated net industry loss of $126.4 billion in 2020 (net profit margin of -33.9%).

“This crisis is longer and deeper than anyone could have expected. Losses will be reduced from 2020, but the pain of the crisis increases. There is optimism in domestic markets where aviation’s hallmark resilience is demonstrated by rebounds in markets without internal travel restrictions. Government imposed travel restrictions, however, continue to dampen the strong underlying demand for international travel. Despite an estimated 2.4 billion people travelling by air in 2021, airlines will burn through a further $81 billion of cash,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

Immediate Priorities

The outlook points to the start of industry recovery in the latter part of 2021. In the face of the ongoing crisis, IATA calls for:

Plans for a restart in preparation for a recovery: IATA continues to urge governments to have plans in place so that no time is lost in restarting the sector when the epidemiological situation allows for a re-opening of borders.

“Most governments have not yet provided clear indications of the benchmarks that they will use to safely give people back their travel freedom,  In the meantime, a significant portion of the $3.5 trillion in GDP and 88 million jobs supported by aviation are at risk. Effectively restarting aviation will energize the travel and tourism sectors and the wider economy. With the virus becoming endemic, learning to safely live, work and travel with it is critical. That means governments must turn their focus to risk management to protect livelihoods as well as lives,” said Walsh.

Employment Support: Industry losses of this scale imply a cash burn of $81 billion in 2021 on top of $149 billion in 2020. Government financial relief measures and capital markets have been filling this hole in airline balance sheets, preventing widespread bankruptcies. The industry will recover but more government relief measures, particularly in the form of employment support programmes, will be needed this year.

“Owing to government relief measures, cost-cutting, and success in accessing capital markets, some airlines appear able to ride out the storm. Others are less well-cushioned and may need to raise more cash from banks or capital markets. This will add to the industry’s debt burden, which has ballooned by $220 billion to $651 billion. There is a definite role for governments in providing relief measures that ensure critical employees and skills are retained to successfully restart and rebuild the industry,” said Walsh.

Cost containment/reduction: The whole industry will come out of the crisis financially weakened. Cost containment and reductions, wherever possible, will be key to restoring financial health.

“Containing and reducing costs will be top of mind for airlines. Governments and partners must have the same mentality. And that must be reflected in items big and small. There can be no tolerance for monopoly infrastructure suppliers gouging their customers to recoup losses through higher charges. Equally, we demand an end to the extortionate costs for COVID-19 testing with governments taking their cut on top of that with taxes. Everyone must be aligned in understanding that increased travel costs will mean a slower economic recovery. Cost reduction efforts on all sides are needed,” said Walsh.

Industry Outlook Highlights:

Demand: Travel restrictions, including quarantines, have killed demand. IATA estimates that travel (measured in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) will recover to 43% of 2019 levels over the year. While that is a 26% improvement on 2020, it is far from a recovery. Domestic markets will improve faster than international travel. Overall passenger numbers are expected to reach 2.4 billion in 2021. That is an improvement on the nearly 1.8 billion who travelled in 2020, but well below the 2019 peak of 4.5 billion.

  • International passenger traffic remained 86.6% down on pre-crisis levels over the first two months of 2021. Vaccination progress in developed countries, particularly the US and Europe, is expected to combine with widespread testing capacity to enable a return to some international travel at scale in the second half of the year, reaching 34% of 2019 demand levels. 2021 and 2020 have opposite demand patterns: 2020 started strong and ended weak, while 2021 is starting weak and is expected to strengthen towards year-end. The result will be zero international growth when comparing the two years.
  • Domestic passenger traffic is expected to perform significantly better than international markets. This is driven by strong GDP growth (5.2%), accumulated consumer disposable cash during lockdowns, pent-up demand, and the absence of domestic travel restrictions. IATA estimates that domestic markets could recover to 96% of pre-crisis (2019) levels in the second half of 2021. That would be a 48% improvement on 2020 performance.

Cargo: Cargo has outperformed the passenger business throughout the crisis. That trend is expected to continue throughout 2021. Demand for cargo is expected to grow by 13.1% over 2020. This puts the cargo business in positive territory compared to pre-crisis levels (2020 saw a full-year decline of 9.1% compared to 2019). Total cargo volumes are expected to reach 63.1 million tonnes in 2021. That’s nearly at the pre-crisis peak of 63.5 million tonnes which occurred in 2018.

Revenues: Industry revenues are expected to total $458 billion. That’s just 55% of the $838 billion generated in 2019 but represents 23% growth on the $372 billion generated in 2020.

  • Passenger revenues are expected to total $231 billion, up from $189 billion in 2020, but far below the $607 billion generated in 2019.
  • Cargo revenues are expected to reach $152 billion, an historic high. This is up from $128 billion in 2020 and $101 billion in 2019. Capacity remains constrained owing to the large-scale grounding of the passenger fleet. This removed significant belly capacity, driving up yields 40% in 2020, with a further 5% growth expected in 2021. In 2021 cargo will account for a third of industry revenues. This is significantly above cargo’s historic contribution, which ranged around 10-15% of total revenues. The improvement in cargo, however, is not able to offset the dramatic decline in passenger revenues.

Costs: Airlines have not been able to cut costs as fast as revenues have fallen. Recently we have seen worrying cost trends in fuel and infrastructure:

  • Fuel: The cost of jet kerosene fell to $46.6/barrel in 2020. But, with the pick-up in economic activity fuel costs are on the rise. Jet kerosene is expected to rise to an average of $68.9/barrel in 2021, nearing the 2019 average price of $77/barrel.
  • Non-fuel: Non-fuel unit costs rose by 17.5% in 2020 as fixed costs were spread over dramatically reduced capacity. As capacity grows in 2021and airline cost-cutting efforts mature, this will partially reverse itself with a 15% decline. “We have seen some worrying signs from our airport and air navigation service providers. Heathrow, for example, is attempting to recoup pandemic losses by expanding its regulated cost base. We are in this crisis together with our partners. Recouping losses from one another is not the answer. We all need to tighten our belts. And the regulators need to act and stamp out monopolistic behaviours,” said Walsh.

Capacity:  Capacity is likely to return at a slower pace than demand. That reflects the pressure on airlines from debt and fuel prices to operate only cashflow-positive services. Taking cargo and passenger traffic into account, the overall weighted load factor is forecast to rise a little to 60.3% in 2021. This is considerably below the 66% we estimate to be breakeven for profitability in 2021 – even though cash costs of operations are being covered.

Regional Highlights

Significant differentiation is emerging between regions with large domestic markets and those relying primarily on international traffic. Losses are highest in Europe (-$22.2 billion) with only 11% of its passenger traffic (RPK) being domestic. Proportionately, losses are much smaller in North America (-$5.0 billion) and Asia-Pacific (-$10.5 billion) where domestic markets are larger (66% and 45% respectively, pre-crisis).

  

Region

2021 Demand vs 2019

2021 Capacity vs 2019

Profits

2021

(% of revenues)

2020

(% of revenues)

World

-57.0%

-47.2%

-$47.7 billion

(-10.4%)

-$126.4 billion

(-33.9%)

North America

-41.5%

-29.2%

-$5.0 billion

(-2.7%)

-$35.1 billion

(-26.8%)

Europe

-66.3%

-57.1%

-$22.2 billion

(-23.9%)

-$34.5 billion

(-43.0%)

Asia-Pacific

-57.8%

-47.6%

-$10.5 billion

(-8.8%)

-$35 billion

(-31.1%)

Middle East

-67.6%

-58.9%

-$4.2 billion

(-13.8%)

-$7.9 billion

(-28.9%)

Latin America

-48.9%

-45.2%

-$4.0 billion

(-20.4%)

-$11.9 billion

(-80.1%)

Africa

-64.5%

-53.6%

-$1.7 billion

(-24.0%)

-$2.0 billion

(-32.0%)

 

  • North American carriers are best placed to take advantage of the rapid vaccination boost to domestic travel in the US, as well as the strong economy driving air cargo demand. Losses are reduced to the lowest in any region at -2.7% of total revenues. In 2020 net losses were -26.8% of total revenues.
  • European carriers are highly dependent on international passenger revenues, with domestic markets representing only 11% of RPKs. Along with testing, vaccines will play an important role in reopening international travel. Uneven vaccination rollout was already expected to limit the number of international markets opening this year. Slower vaccination in Europe will also restrict the recovery of the important within-Europe market and the North Atlantic. Net losses are expected to be reduced at the slowest rate among the major regions. The region’s carriers are expected to see net losses fall to -23.9% of revenues for 2021 (from -43% in 2020).
  • Asia-Pacific carriers see 45% of their RPKs generated on domestic markets and will benefit from the strength of the Chinese domestic market recovery, as well as the relative importance of air cargo to the region. Net losses are expected to be reduced from -31.1% of revenues in 2020 to -8.8% of revenues this year.
  • Middle Eastern carriers will benefit from relatively rapid vaccination rates on home markets. They will be hampered, however, by continued travel restrictions on many of the routes to emerging economies that are served through Gulf hub connections. Net losses in 2021 are forecast at -13.8% of revenues (reduced from -28.9% of revenues in 2020). It will be the third smallest regional loss.
  • Latin American carriers are advantaged by having almost half (48%) of their RPKs being generated on domestic markets, in particular the large Brazilian home market. They are starting from relatively large losses in 2020 and, in some parts of the region, a slow rate of vaccination. Revenues from the growth in domestic travel are forecast to cut net losses by more than two-thirds this year—to -20.4% of revenues in 2021 from -80.1% in 2020.
  • African carriers will see slow vaccination rates limit international travel. With only 14% of the region’s RPKs generated on domestic markets this will provide little cushion. Relatively weak economic growth will also limit the extent of pent-up demand. Nonetheless, net losses are expected to fall this year, from -32% of revenues in 2020 to -24%.

SHANGHAI: Visitors inspect a HiPhi X electric vehicle displayed during a media day for an auto show on Tuesday.—Reuters

SHANGHAI: Thought Big Tech was taking over your life through smartphones? It may be coming for your car next as Chinese firms lead a stampede into auto manufacturing in their battle for more consumers.

Cars are the next major prize in the battle for digital territory, industry insiders say, and the deep pockets and data muscle of big Chinese tech firms will fuel even faster growth in “smart-electric” vehicles — and possibly hasten the arrival of autonomous cars.

In recent weeks, Chinese smartphone giants Huawei and Xiaomi, e-commerce leader Alibaba, and even DJI, the world’s top drone manufacturer, have thrown their hats into the ring.

“This sort of competition is a good thing and will greatly accelerate innovation,” William Li, founder, chairman and CEO of Chinese electric vehicle (EV) producer NIO, told AFP in an interview just ahead of the Shanghai Auto Show as it opens to the public on Wednesday.

The first major auto industry gathering of the year opens to the public with the global sector looking to China — the world’s biggest and most rapidly electrifying auto market — to lead the way into a post-pandemic future.

Sales in China contracted two per cent to 25.1 million vehicles last year — nearly one-third of the global total — but are rapidly recovering thanks to the expanding popularity of electric cars.

Just a tiny fraction of Chinese sales until recently, EVs accounted for around 9 per cent in March, according to official figures.

China’s government expects new-energy vehicles, which integrate the most advanced driving technology, to comprise 25pc of car sales by 2025, and recent announcements appear to bode well.

Xiaomi, which has rapidly become one of the world’s biggest smartphone suppliers, plans to invest $10 billion over the next decade in a smart EV subsidiary, and Huawei will invest $1bn this year.

Alibaba-linked autonomous driving unit AutoX has partnered with Japan’s Honda to ramp up testing on Chinese roads. Tech giant Baidu earlier on Monday said its Apollo autonomous navigation system would be installed on one million vehicles over the next three to five years.

The moves will focus fresh attention on Apple’s secretive project to develop a self-driving vehicle.

Cars represent a fresh opportunity for companies like Huawei that is now rushing to develop its own tech ecosystem after the US sanctions banned it from using Google’s Android.

Huawei has realised its current “market limitations”, said Chen Yusheng, chief technology officer for procurement analysis firm Shanghai Autodatas Co.

“(Huawei) will enter a new track in the future, and with its own advantages, including combining software and hardware, will help promote lightning-fast development of smart cars and autonomous driving,” Chen said.

Even potential competitors seem intrigued.

“This is very reassuring. (Tech companies) see there is an opportunity in this industry, which means that this industry still has a very bright future,” said Antoine Barthes, managing director of the automaking joint venture Dongfeng Nissan.

Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2021

Nasser Musaed Al-Sayer, NBK Group Chairman and Isam Al-Sager, NBK’s Group Chief Executive Officer

KUWAIT CITY, April 20: National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) has announced its financial results for the first quarter ended 31 March 2021. NBK reported a net profit of KD 84.3 million (USD 278.8 million), compared to KD 77.7 million (USD 256.9 million) for 1Q 2020, up by 8.5% year-onyear. Total assets as of end of March 2021 grew by 1.5% year-on-year to reach KD 31.0 billion (USD 102.5 billion), whereas total loans and advances increased by 0.8% year-on-year to KD 17.9 billion (USD 59.0 billion), and total shareholders’ equity reached KD 3.3 billion (USD 10.8 billion), boosting by 6.6% year-onyear. Commenting on the results, NBK Group Chairman, Nasser Al-Sayer, said: “During the first quarter of the year we continued to experience some of the challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic including movement restrictions and renewed closures.

Despite these headwinds, NBK was able to grow its profits for the period demonstrating its resilient business model, solid financial fundamentals backed by its prudent income diversification and digital transformation strategies.” Al-Sayer noted that the variant pace of vaccine rollout and recovery of major economies worldwide has compelled the Group to continue focusing on the conservative approach adopted since the beginning of the crisis. Al-Sayer emphasized that the Bank is able to meet its customers’ needs and expectations by providing top-tier banking services and supporting them to overcome these exceptional circumstances through financing and advisory services; reflecting NBK’s remarkable capabilities, highly professional cadres and long-standing expertise, which always succeeded in earning and maintaining customers’ trust.

“We are fully committed to our historical and leading roles in supporting the national economy and delivering on our social responsibilities; becoming a key player in supporting community stability and stimulating business environment, and this role is best manifested during the times of crises,” added Al-Sayer. Al-Sayer also explained that these exceptionally challenging times demonstrated NBK’s successful strategy in compliance with ESG standards considering them a key pillar for achieving sustainable growth in the future, thereby becoming a role model across the region in this regard. Al-Sayer extended special gratitude to the bank’s employees for the dedication they showed in working during these exceptional circumstances, appreciating their strong sense of responsibility during these difficult times, which demonstrated that NBK’s human capital is the cornerstone of its success and key to achieving its future goals.

 

On his part, NBK Group Chief Executive Officer, Isam J. Al Sager, commented: “We are proud of reporting consistently healthy quarterly profits since the beginning of the pandemic, while maintaining a solid financial position, strong capitalization and stable asset quality metrics. This ensures a sustainable future growth and ability to meet the needs of our customers.” In light of market conditions, we will continue to closely monitor costs, optimize operations and our balance sheet, and invest in areas where we believe the greatest short- and long-term impact can be achieved. We are focused on our digital transformation, a program that has been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic and that has proven vital to our response to the crisis. We will maintain our conservative approach to risk, allowing us to withstand external pressures until during the gradual normalization of economic activity, which we are cautiously optimistic will take place in the course of 2021.” added Al-Sager.

Al-Sager noted that in light of curfews imposed in Kuwait and challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bank’s digital capabilities have been a clear testimony to the remarkable technological capabilities and infrastructure built over years, which yielded topnotch digital banking services and payment solutions that were remarkably well-received by customers across all segments. We will continue to investing in our digital services, enabling the Group to maintain solid progress towards its strategic objectives. Al-Sager pointed out that the income diversification strategy succeeded in preserving the Group’s leading position and dominant share in Kuwait, in addition to building strong competitive edges in the key regional markets in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, leveraging the integration and completeness of the Group’s offerings. Al-Sager concluded by saying: “Our financial results boost our confidence in being well-positioned to be the biggest beneficiary of the gradual recovery, thanks to our comfortable liquidity, strong asset quality, and our digital excellence.”

Performance and operating highlights (Q1 2021):
● Total assets grew by 1.5% year-on-year, to KD 31.0 billion (USD 102.5 billion)
● Total loans and advances grew by 0.8% year-onyear to KD 17.9 billion (USD 59.0 billion)
● Total shareholders’ equity reached KD 3.3 billion (USD 10.8 billion), boosting by 6.6% year-on-year
● NPL/gross loans ratio at 1.68% and an NPL coverage ratio of 225%
● Robust Capital Adequacy Ratio of 18.4%, comfortably in excess of regulatory requirements

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