Equity Group Holdings Ltd., Kenya’s biggest bank by market value, said first-quarter profit rose 20 percent to 5.1 billion shillings ($51 million) after earnings from loans surged, Chief Executive James Mwangi said.

Net interest income rose 37 percent to 10.4 billion shillings in the three months through March, Mwangi told reporters in the capital, Nairobi.

“We expect to improve on the performance of first quarter,” Mwangi said.

South Sudan, one of the six nations the lender operates in, weighed on the company’s performance because of a currency devaluation late last year. Subsidiaries in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda would break even this year, he said.

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