British-American Jumps to Highest in Two Months: Nairobi Mover

British-American Investments Co., a Kenyan company that owns money managers and insurance businesses, jumped to the highest in more than two months after returning to profit in the first half.

Shares of British-American surged as much as 7.8 percent to 6.20 shillings and closed 4.4 percent higher at 6 shillings in Nairobi, the strongest since May 22.

Net income was 1.68 billion shillings ($20 million) in the six months through June, compared with a loss of 197.7 million shillings a year earlier, Managing Director Benson Wairegi said yesterday. Gross earned premiums climbed 30 percent to 3.35 billion shillings, as investment income surged to 2.6 billion shillings from 54.9 million shillings.

“The shares performance is mainly because of improvement in the investment income,” Samora Kariuki, a research analyst at Nairobi-based NIC Securities Ltd. said in a phone interview today. “Because interest rates were high their fixed-income portfolio did well and the stocks portfolio gained 1.2 billion shillings.”

British American owns 21.37 percent of Housing Finance Ltd., Kenya’s only publicly traded mortgage lender, and 10.63 percent in Equity Bank Ltd., the country’s biggest lender by customers. About 29 percent of its total investment portfolio is in fixed income and 39 percent in equities, Wairegi said yesterday.

Kenyan stocks, the worst performers in sub-Saharan Africa last year, are this year’s best, as the central bank reins in inflation and spurs a rally in the currency. The Nairobi Stock Exchange All-Share Index has surged 25 percent this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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