* Says large state tenders lift prospects for Kuwaiti
* Posts 6.4 pct rise in Q3 net profit
* Contrasts with profit falls for Saudi rivals
(Recasts on chairman's comments, adds detail, context)
By Tom Arnold
DUBAI, Oct 17 National Bank of Kuwait
(NBK) is seeing higher demand for bank credit and an
improvement in operating conditions, its chairman said on
Monday, in contrast with the generally gloomy picture for banks
throughout the Gulf.
Low oil prices have weighed on deposit growth and pushed up
problem loans across the region, but Nasser al-Sayer gave a more
upbeat assessment for Kuwait's largest commercial lender on the
back of an increase in project tenders as the government pushes
ahead with capital spending plans.
"This has led to an improvement in the overall operating
environment, a pick-up in business sentiment and consequently
higher demand for bank credit," he said in a statement.
After years of project delays because of red tape and
political wrangling, Kuwait is pressing ahead with several huge
schemes, including the Clean Fuels Project to upgrade and expand
two of Kuwait's largest refineries and the building of the
Kuwait was the only Gulf state to increase project awards in
the first half of 2016, with awards totalling $7.8 billion
during the period, according to Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank.
Al-Sayer was speaking after NBK posted a 6.4 percent rise in
third-quarter net profit to 68.65 million dinars ($227.24
million), helped by a rise in net interest income.
Analysts at EFG Hermes and HSBC had forecast that NBK would
make quarterly net profit of 73.7 million dinars and 67 million
The results compare favourably with those of rivals in Saudi
Arabia, the Gulf's largest economy, where the five banks to have
reported third-quarter earnings so far have all reported a
Emirates NBD, Dubai's largest bank, on Monday reported a 1
percent drop in profit as as net interest income slipped and
Bank lending growth in Kuwait accelerated to 7.4 percent in
July, the latest central bank data shows.
NBK's loans and advances reached 13.9 billion dinars in the
nine months to Sept. 30, up 4.9 percent year on year, with
customer deposits growing 9.7 percent.
In a research note last month, Moody's Investors Service
noted that Kuwaiti banks were better placed than their regional
peers to weather liquidity tightening because they remained
primarily deposit funded and had comfortable capital buffers.
($1 = 0.3021 Kuwaiti dinars)
(Editing by David French and David Goodman)