Gulf Bank Holds Annual General Meeting and Announces Cash Dividend of 5 Fils Per Share
Marking the sixth consecutive year in which Gulf Bank has distributed cash dividends
Kuwait, 27 March 2021: Gulf Bank concluded its Ordinary Annual General Meeting (“AGM”) No. 61 yesterday, Saturday 27 March 2021, with a 78.18% quorum. The event was held at the Bank’s main branch, with the Board of Directors recommending the distribution of 5% cash dividends at a (equivalent to 5 fils per share).
Gulf Bank’s Chairman, Mr. Jassim Mustafa Boodai, commenced the meeting by welcoming the shareholders and recalling the most prominent economic events and measures taken during 2020, a year which witnessed unprecedented challenges that affected both the economy and society. On Gulf Bank’s financial performance, Mr. Jassim Mustafa Boodai said: “Despite the challenges of the past year, and due to its strategic and prudent policies, Gulf Bank was able to achieve a positive net profit of KD 29 Million. In appreciation of our shareholders, and in keeping with our cash dividend policy, the Board of Directors is recommending a cash dividend distribution of 5 fils per share, marking the sixth consecutive year in which the Bank has distributed cash dividends, and the fourth consecutive year in which at least 50% of the Bank’s profits are distributed to shareholders. In addition, Gulf Bank has also set its strategy for the next five years, which will focus on: promoting growth in the corporate banking segment by increasing products and focusing on small and medium-sized enterprises; strengthening customer relations, increasing the Bank’s market share in the retail banking sector, and targeting youth and affluent client segments; and the development of Gulf Bank’s digital banking platforms to increase competitiveness in the banking industry.”
An Unprecedented Year
Speaking on the challenges witnessed by the Kuwaiti economy and the subsequent measures taken to combat them, Mr. Boodai added: “Locally, the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) undertook several preventative measures, including: reducing its discount rate by 125 basis points to reach 1.5%, a historical low interest rate, in addition to easing certain capital and liquidity requirements to increase liquidity between the banking and non-banking sectors of the economy, and cutting the REPO rate. It is also worth recalling how local banks played an especially crucial role, taking the initiative to postpone consumer loan obligations and credit card payments for all individual customers and small to medium-sized enterprises over a period of six months, in addition to allowing corporate clients the option to postpone loan principal payments for a similar period in an effort to assist clients in overcoming any financial challenges they may have faced as a result of the pandemic."
A Vital Community Role
Mr. Boodai continued his speech by discussing the performance of Gulf Bank’s various departments and teams during 2020. He added, “In conjunction with local banks, Gulf Bank was quick to contribute to the Central Bank of Kuwait’s KD 10 Million fund designed to allow local banks to support national efforts in combating the spread of the novel coronavirus. Gulf Bank also played a key role in raising awareness and community morale during the most difficult aspects of the past year through various initiatives across social media. During the first stages of returning to normal life, Gulf Bank was also keen on applying all the necessary precautionary measures to ensure the regular sterilization of its locations. These measures include the use of thermal imaging cameras, protection barriers, and other procedures that ensured the safety of both the Bank’s customers and employees, and encouraged a safe and secure working environment. Throughout the year, Gulf Bank also achieved excellent accomplishments with digitization, including the swift modernization of its digital platforms, and the conversion of more than 90% of customers to online banking services. Gulf Bank also launched ‘Visit Gulf Bank,’ a mobile application that allows customers to conveniently book branch appointments and reduce wait times.”
A Year of Non-Stop Efforts & Accomplishments
Following the opening remarks, Gulf Bank’s CEO, Mr. Antoine Daher discussed the major key financial highlights of Gulf Bank’s performance during 2020. Mr. Daher stated, “Throughout the course of the year, Gulf Bank remained profitable with a reported net profit of KD 29 Million in 2020. Earnings per share reached 10 fils, which led to the recommendation of a dividend distribution of 5 fils per share (a 50% payout ratio). Gulf Bank’s portfolio quality remained strong, with a non-performing loan ratio standing at 1.1% for year-end 2020, and Total Credit Provisions reported at KD 284 Million, exceeding IFRS 9 accounting requirements by KD 112 Million. In addition, Gulf Bank’s regulatory capital adequacy ratios also remained strong and well above the regulatory minimums, at 18.25%. Notably, Gulf Bank maintained its ‘A’ ratings from the four major credit rating agencies during 2020: Moody’s, Fitch Ratings, S&P Global Ratings, and Capital Intelligence.”
New Board of Directors
Subsequently, Mr. Boodai addressed the rest of the AGM agenda items, including the approval of Gulf Bank’s financial statement as of 31 December 2020 and the cash dividend distribution of 5 fils per share.
The shareholders approved all the AGM agenda items, and during the course of the Ordinary Annual General Meeting, both independent and non-independent Board Members were elected for the upcoming three-year period. The newly elected Board of Directors consists of: Chairman - Jassim Mustafa Boodai; Deputy Chairman - Ali Morad Yusuf Behbehani; Board Member - Bader Nasser Al Khorafi; Board Member - Omar Hamad Youssef Al-Essa; Board Member - Fawaz Mohammad Alawadhi; Board Member - Abdullah Sayer AlSayer; Board Member - Barrak Abdulmohsen Ahmad Al-Asfour; Board Member - Dr. Adnan Shihab-Eldin; Independent Board Member - Manaf Abdulaziz Al-Hajeri, Independent Board Member - Ahmad Mohammad Al Bahar; Board Member - AbdulRahman Mohammad Al-Taweel. Mr. Boodai concluded the meeting by thanking the shareholders for their continuous support and trust in Gulf Bank.