Kenyan banks’ EA branches post record profits

The regional subsidiaries of KCB, Equity and
The regional subsidiaries of KCB, Equity and Co-operative had mixed fortunes, but the lenders posted double digit growth in net profit for the nine months to September. FILE PHOTOS | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

The regional subsidiaries of Kenya Commercial Bank, Equity Bank and Co-operative Bank had mixed fortunes, but the lenders posted double digit growth in net profit for the nine months to September.

KCB Uganda and South Sudan suffered dips in profit, but the bank grew its profits after tax by 15.4 per cent to $137.7 million. The Kenyan operation remained dominant, contributing 92 per cent of the gross profit of $196.5 million. KCB said the Uganda unit’s figures were affected by non-performing loans, while political instability in South Sudan led to the closure of its branches in Marakal, Bentiu and Upper Nile.

“We hope to see a positive turnaround in the Uganda subsidiary before the year ends,” KCB chief executive officer Joshua Oigara said.

KCB Uganda had returned a gross loss of $981,677 by September; it posted a profit of $2.2 million in the same period last year. KCB South Sudan contributed 6.3 per cent of its gross profit. In the nine months to September, the subsidiary posted a profit of $12.2 million, down from $14.6 million it posted in the same period last year.

Mr Oigara said the regional subsidiaries are expected to deliver at least 15 to 20 per cent of the group’s earnings by the end of next year.

Profits at KCB’s Tanzania subsidiary grew to $1.6 million, from $218,767 in September 2013; Burundi’s profits grew to $195,447 from $16,657 in September last year. Rwanda’s profits also rose to $11.7 million, from $366,406 in September 2013.

Last month, Equity Bank posted a profit in all its subsidiaries in the region.

“We are happy that our expansion strategies in the region continue to pay off. Our subsidiaries have collectively posted a 51 per cent and 137 per cent growth in deposits and profit after tax,” Equity Bank chief executive officer James Mwangi said.

Equity said the sustained six to eight per cent growth rate of Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda in the recent past boosted the performance of its regional subsidiaries. The bank has subsidiaries in South Sudan, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

Equity posted a 26 per cent rise in profits for the third quarter of 2014, with profit after tax rising to $122.3 million for the period ending September, up from $97.2 million it registered last year.

The subsidiaries’ combined net profit rose to $10.9 million, representing an 80 per cent increase from the $6.34 million that they jointly posted in 2013.

“We are happy to note that during this financial period, trade within the East African Community has risen by over 30 per cent. We have also grown our loan books and customer deposits and hence done better in terms of foreign exchange and commissions,” Mr Mwangi said.

The bank realised a growth of 23 per cent against its net interest income growth of 9 per cent. Merchant business commissions posted a 69 per cent growth, while insurance, custodial and brokerage fees rose by 35 per cent; diaspora remittances grew by 19 per cent, and foreign exchange trading income grew by 15 per cent.

Equity’s Tanzania subsidiary sealed a deal with the Tanzania Revenue Authority allowing Tanzanians to pay taxes through its network. The new tax settlement system will be available for all TRA clients including non-Equity Bank account holders.

In August, Co-operative Bank said that its South Sudan subsidiary, which started operations in September last year, was on the verge of breaking even and contributing positively to its profitability this year.

In August, the bank reported a 15 per cent rise in its half-year pre-tax profit to $76.18 million, while its loan book grew by 32.7 per cent to $1.8 billion.

“We are happy with the progress our South Sudan subsidiary has made despite the challenges the country is facing. We are now looking at Ethiopia and Uganda as our new frontiers,” Co-op Bank managing director Gideon Muriuki said.

In its third quarter results released last week, the bank posted a 2.5 per cent rise in its pre-tax profit for the first nine months of 2014, to $101.44 million.

Its total assets grew by more than 18 per cent to $2.95 billion from a year ago, and its net loans and advances grew by 31 per cent to $1.92 billion.