Nation Media Nears 5-Year High as Profit Jumps: Nairobi Mover

Nation Media Group Ltd., East Africa’s biggest news company, rose to the highest level in almost five years after profit growth in 2012 beat estimates.

The stock surged 5.9 percent to 304 shillings by 1:06 p.m. in the capital, Nairobi, the highest since July 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. More than 3.7 times the average daily volume of shares were traded.

Nation Media earned 15.9 shillings ($0.19) a share, while the median estimate was for 13.9 shillings a share, according to a survey of two analysts by Bloomberg. The company increased its dividend to 10 shillings a share from 8 shillings a year earlier and will offer a bonus share of one for every five held, Chairman Wilfred Kiboro said yesterday.

“The company has been very consistent in its financial performance,” Eric Musau, a research analyst at Nairobi-based Standard Investment Bank Ltd., said in a phone interview. “When you combine that with the bonus offer it shows you that management is confident about performance in 2013.”

Profit jumped 25 percent as advertising revenue climbed. Net income grew to 2.5 billion shillings ($29.2 million) in the 12 months through December, from 2 billion shillings a year earlier, Chief Executive Officer Linus Gitahi said yesterday. Sales rose 10 percent to 12.3 billion shillings, he said.

Nation Media has rallied 39 percent this year, compared with a 21 percent rally for the Nairobi Securities Exchange All-Share Index.