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National 2013 profit up 57 pct Y/Y, cash call on track

27 March 2014, 13:29

Nairobi - National Bank of Kenya posted a 57 percent jump in pretax profit to 1.81 billion shillings last year and its plans to raise capital from shareholders are on track, it said on Wednesday.

Munir Ahmed, the bank's managing director, told an investor briefing the bank plans to add seven new branches, to appoint 1,400 agents across the country and to launch new cash points as well as Internet and mobile phone-based banking.

"We are increasing our capital by way of a rights issue ... (by) 10 to 13 billion shillings." he told an investor briefing.

Ahmed was hired from Standard Chartered in 2012 to turn the bank around after its model of focusing on banking to the government, a major shareholder, caused it to be overtaken by nimbler rivals such as Equity Bank.

National's net interest income rose to 5.64 billion shillings in 2013 from 4.78 billion shillings in the previous year, Ahmed said.

Its earnings per share rose to 2.32 shillings last year from 1.52 shillings in 2012, while the dividend per share was raised to 0.33 shillings from 0.20 shillings.

Kenyan banks, including the largest lender by depositors, Equity Bank, and the biggest by assets, KCB, posted double-digit earnings growth last year, though rising bad debts curbed pre-tax profit.

National is striving to reclaim its position as one of the country's top three lenders after losing it due to poor management.

The bank said its provisions for bad debts dropped to 288 million shillings during the year from 726 million shillings.

During the year under review, National ventured into new business segments like bancassurance, investment and corporate banking, Ahmed said.

- Reuters


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