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Scangroup First-Half Profit Rises 8.6% on Billings

(Corrects percentage increase in headline, first paragraph of story first published on Aug. 8.)

Aug. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Scangroup Ltd., East Africa’s biggest marketing company by sales, said first-half profit rose 8.6 percent as billings increased.

Net income climbed to 406.6 million shillings ($4.8 million) in the six months through June, from 374.5 million shillings a year earlier, the Nairobi-based company said in an e-mailed statement today. Billings grew 5.9 percent to 5.94 billion shillings, while total sales surged 32 percent to 2 billion shillings, it said.

Advertising spending in Kenya surged 43 percent in the first half of 2012 to 40.1 billion shillings, compared with the same period a year earlier, according to Ipsos-Synovate, the Nairobi-based market-research firm. Scangroup’s clients include Safaricom Ltd., Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc. and Coca-Cola Co., who are among Kenya’s top five advertisers, Ipsos-Synovate figures show. Kenya accounts for 60 percent of Scangroup’s total billings, according to Kestrel.

Revenue was boosted by increased business from new markets including Ghana, Rwanda and Nigeria, Kestrel Capital (East Africa) Ltd. said in a research note. The company plans to expand further in west and southern Africa, Kestrel analyst Joy Migongo said.

“We expect improved performance in the second half, buoyed by better macro-economic conditions,” Migongo said. “We also believe that Scangroup’s vast network, which currently spans 16 countries in Africa, will enable the company to attract more multinational advertising budgets due to its ability to provide services across many markets.”

Shares in Scangroup were unchanged at 57.50 shillings by 11:36 a.m. in Nairobi, the capital. The stock has surged 39 percent so far this year, outperforming a 26 percent increase in the Nairobi Securities Exchange All Share Index over the same period.

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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