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Nigeria’s Guaranty Trust Bank Posts 19% Gain in Quarterly Profit

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April 19 (Bloomberg) -- Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Nigeria’s largest lender by market value, said first-quarter profit climbed 19 percent after investment income increased.

Net income rose to 22.3 billion naira ($140.4 million), from 18.7 billion naira a year earlier, the Lagos-based lender said in a statement published on the website of the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Investment and other operating income jumped 53 percent to 18 billion naira.

Guaranty Trust plans to almost double loan growth to 20 percent this year from about 11 percent in 2012 and intends to invest more in large oil and manufacturing companies, Chief Executive Officer Segun Agbaje said on April 8. The bank, which operates in six countries outside Nigeria, is seeking to open units in East Africa to tap regional growth, he said.

Guaranty Trust said loan-loss expenses more than tripled to 1.5 billion naira in the quarter, while loans and advances climbed 5 percent to 826 billion naira since December.

The bank’s shares have gained 1.3 percent this year compared with the 10 percent advance in the 10-member Bloomberg Nigerian Stock Exchange Banking Index.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Kay in Abuja at ckay5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Vernon Wessels at vwessels@bloomberg.net

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