February 28, 2011 / 6:01 AM / in 7 years

Kenya's Equity Bank FY pretax surges 71 pct

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya’s Equity Bank posted a 71 percent leap in 2010 pretax profit to 9.04 billion shillings on Monday, joining other Kenyan listed banks that have already reported healthy growth.

<p>A currency dealer counts Kenya shillings at a money exchange counter in Nairobi, October 23, 2008. REUTERS/Antony Njuguna</p>

Chief Executive James Mwangi said profit growth for the bank, which is Kenya’s fastest-growing, was buoyed by a 28 percent rise in total interest income to 13.8 billion shillings.

The bank said its loan book rose to 78.3 billion shillings from 63.3 billion shillings in 2009.

The bank’s total assets grew to 143.0 billion shillings from 100.8 billion shillings in 2009, while customer numbers grew to 5.9 million from 4.4 million a year ago.

“We’re very excited that Equity has bounced back. We’re seeing better performance. Cost drivers were not growing as fast as revenue drivers,” Mwangi told an investor briefing.

Earnings per share climbed to 1.93 shillings from 1.14 shillings a year earlier.

Last week, Kenya Commercial Bank posted a 56 percent rise in 2010 pretax profit to 9.8 billion shillings. Barclays Bank Kenya’s pretax profit was up 51 percent to 13.6 billion shillings, while NIC Bank pretax profit leapt 71 percent to 2.6 billion shillings.

Equity Bank has focused energies on services for the poor in east Africa’s largest economy.

Analysts expect Kenyan banks to benefit this year from among others, vibrant economic growth in the region and increased lending at higher spreads.

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