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Equity Bank of Kenya Advances on Earnings Bets: Nairobi Mover

March 7 (Bloomberg) -- Equity Bank Ltd., Kenya’s biggest lender by customers, gained for a fourth day as investors bet earnings will continue to increase.

The stock advanced 1 percent to close at 19.60 shillings in Nairobi, the strongest since Nov. 15, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The lender will announce 2011 full year earnings tomorrow. In the nine months through September, net income jumped 42 percent to 7.29 billion shillings ($88.1 million) from 5.13 billion shillings a year earlier, Equity said Oct. 24. In the full year to December 2010, profit increased 69 percent to 7.13 billion shillings.

“The earnings up to quarter three have surpassed the full year for 2010,” Francis Mwangi, head of research at Nairobi-based Standard Investment Bank Ltd., said in an interview in Nairobi today. “My estimate is that earnings per share will grow 31 percent because up to the third quarter there was increased lending compared to 2010 and there is continued growth in fees and commissions income.”

Full-year net income is likely to be 9.4 billion shillings, George Bodo, an equity strategist at Nairobi-based Apex Africa Capital Ltd., said by phone. “Profit is being driven by very robust non-interest income, mostly transaction fees.”

To contact the reporter on this story: 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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