By George Obulutsa |

Nairobi (Reuters)― Kenya Commercial Bank Group (KCB) said on Thursday it had received approvals to open a representative office in Ethiopia, boosting plans to enter more markets in the region, and posted a 10 percent rise in nine-month pretax profit.

The company said pretax profit rose to 19.4 billion shillings ($191.1 million) in January to September, helped by a 10 percent rise in net interest income to 28.4 billion shillings.

“KCB received the license to open a representative office in Ethiopia on Oct. 14, opening up the bank to opportunities in Africa’s second-largest market by population,” it said in a statement.

“The bank hopes to use its presence in Ethiopia to facilitate trade between Ethiopia and other East African countries while playing part in driving economic expansion in the country.”

The bank also operates in Tanzania, Burundi, Uganda, South Sudan and Rwanda. It said its subsidiaries’ profit shot up 74 percent and contributed 12 percent of the group’s bottom line, up from 7 percent in the year-ago period.

Kenya’s biggest bank by assets said total assets rose by just over a third to 607.3 billion shillings from 451.6 billion shillings in the first nine months of 2014.

Net loans and advances to customers rose 32 percent to 347.6 billion shillings, while fees and commissions were up 14 percent to 10.3 billion shillings.

KCB said earnings per share rose to 6.05 shillings from 5.50 shillings.

In July, KCB said growth in the second half of the year will be boosted by loans offered through a mobile phone service in partnership with telecoms company Safaricom, saying it aimed to double its customers to 5 million customers by year-end.

It said as at September, the service had disbursed loans worth a total of 4.3 billion shillings since its launch in March.

($1 = 101.5000 Kenyan shillings)

(Reporting by George Obulutsa; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

Source: Reuters Africa
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