May 27, 2009 / 6:55 AM / 8 years ago

Kenyan Co-op Bank's Q1 profit up 29 percent

<p>A trader works at the Co-operative Bank of Kenya in the capital Nairobi October 9 2008.Antony Njuguna</p>

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya's Co-operative Bank reported a 29 percent jump in its first-quarter pretax profit to 1.04 billion shillings on Wednesday and said it will open a bank in South Sudan this year.

"We are negotiating with the government of South Sudan on a joint venture," Gideon Muriuki, chief executive of Kenya's fifth-largest bank by assets, told reporters.

"Possibly, we will have a Co-operative Bank of South Sudan, 70 percent owned by Co-operative Bank, 30 percent owned by the government of South Sudan."

Muriuki attributed the increase in profit to 43 percent growth in the loan book to 55.5 billion shillings from a year ago. Deposits rose 33 percent to 71.9 billion.

Co-operative Bank shares were trading up 0.15 at 6.30 shillings at 0700 GMT.

Total assests stood at 89.7 billion up from 68.3 billion in the same period of 2008. Interest income rose by 24 percent while operating expenses climbed 18 percent.

"This (profit) growth is a reflection that the bank has successfully sustained its aggressive growth strategies despite the challenging economic circumstances," Muriuki said.

Other Kenyan banks have already reported a growth in first-quarter profits this year.

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