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Standard of Kenya Posts Higher First-Half Profit, Names CEO

Aug. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Standard Group Ltd., Kenya’s second-biggest media company, said first-half profit climbed 6.5 percent as revenue increased and announced the appointment of a new chief executive officer.

Income before tax rose to 230 million shillings ($2.49 million) in the six months through June, from 216 million shillings a year earlier, the Nairobi-based company said in a statement e-mailed by the city’s stock exchange today. It didn’t give a profit-after-tax figure. Sales grew 5.9 percent to 1.63 billion shillings, it said.

“The board remains cautiously optimistic that barring significant weakening of the Kenyan shilling and its impact on the cost of production, the group will maintain its growth prospects,” the company said. The shilling has fallen 13 percent against the dollar so far this year.

Standard said it appointed Paul Melly, former chief strategist at the company, as CEO. Melly also remains group deputy chairman, according to a separate statement e-mailed by the stock exchange today. No one at Standard’s offices answered calls seeking comment.

Shares of Standard Group surged 8.1 percent to 33.50 shillings as of the 3:00 p.m. close in Nairobi, the highest level since July 12. The stock has fallen 26.4 percent this year, underperforming a 20 percent decline in the benchmark NSE-20 Share Index over the same period, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporters on this story: Paul Richardson in Nairobi at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net; Eric Ombok in Nairobi at eombok@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Shaji Mathew at shajimathew@bloomberg.net.

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