Fitch Ratings, the international credit rating agency, said that National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) ratings reflect the bank's dominant domestic franchise and international network, consistent profitability, strong capital base, sound asset quality, conservative risk profile and sound liquidity, according to a press release on Saturday.
"NBK maintained sound profitability ratios in 2011 and first quarter 2012," said Fitch in a report published yesterday. "Net income is expected to remain sound in 2012, despite the continuing difficult conditions in certain Middle East countries."
Fitch affirmed NBK's Long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'AA-' with a Stable Outlook.
Fitch highlighted that NBK's asset quality ratios remain sound, reflecting the bank's conservative attitude to credit risk.
Fitch added that NBK has a strong and stable deposit base, and has benefited from a "flight to safety" during regional crises. Capitalization was strengthened in 2010, through a rights issue. At end of 2011 NBK's Tier 1 ratio stood at 18.5%.
NBK enjoys the highest credit ratings of all banks in the Middle East and North Africa region by the major international rating agencies.