Kenya Commercial Bank First-Quarter Profit Climbs on Loan Income

Kenya Commercial Bank Ltd., the country’s biggest lender by market value and assets, said first-quarter profit climbed 25 percent as income from loans increased and costs were little changed.

Net income in the three months through March rose to 3.03 billion shillings ($36 million) from 2.43 billion shillings a year earlier, the Nairobi-based lender said in an e-mailed statement. Net interest income, the money banks earn from interest charges on loans, grew 5.7 percent to 7.37 billion shillings, while expenses rose 3 percent to 6.6 billion shillings, it said.

Kenya, East Africa’s biggest economy, is increasing spending on infrastructure including power plants, roads and ports under a program that seeks to achieve average annual economic growth of 10 percent over the next two decades. The country seeks to reach middle-income status by 2030.

“We are optimistic on our medium- to long-term growth prospects,” Chief Executive Officer Joshua Oigara said in the statement. “Our large balance sheet enables the bank to lend to the growing large infrastructure developments in the country, real estate, manufacturing” and other projects, he said.

The Finance Ministry is targeting economic growth of 5.6 percent this year, compared with 5 percent in 2012.

KCB’s stock gained 1.8 percent to 43 shillings at the close of trade today and before the results were released. The shares have advanced 45 percent this year, outperforming a 29 percent gain in the Nairobi Securities Exchange All Share Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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