Kenya Commercial Bank Climbs to Record High: Nairobi Mover

Kenya Commercial Bank Ltd. rose to a record high on speculation the country’s biggest lender by assets will announce this week full-year profit increased as much as 22 percent.

KCB, as the lender is known, climbed 6.1 percent to 39.25 shillings a share by the close in Nairobi, the highest since at least May 1997. More than four times the three-month daily average volume was traded.

The company will announce full-year earnings Feb. 28. Profit in the nine months through September surged 35 percent to 8.69 billion shillings ($99.3 million) as income from loans grew, the lender said Oct. 25. Joshua Oigara took over as chief executive officer of KCB on Jan. 1. Oigara, formerly chief financial officer, said in August the lender’s cost to income ratio target is 52 percent by the end of 2012 from 60 percent a year earlier.

“There is building investor demand ahead of end-year results,” Ted Macharia, a research analyst at Nairobi-based AIB Capital Ltd., said by phone. “The bank under new management is trying to trim its cost to income ratio to below 50 percent.”

Profit after tax will be about 13.4 billion shillings compared with 11 billion shillings a year earlier, he said. Nairobi-based Standard Investment Bank Ltd. has a similar estimate.

The stock has climbed 31 percent this year, compared with a gain of 11 percent for the benchmark Nairobi Securities Exchange All Share Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.