KCB #ticker:KCB has announced a rare interim dividend of Sh1 per share amounting to a total of Sh3 billion for the half year ended June when its net profit remained flat at Sh10.2 billion.
The lender recorded lower interest income and higher operating expenses but these were offset by a cutback in interest expenses, an increase in non-interest income and lower tax paid in the review period.
KCB said it has strong capital buffers including cash on hand, allowing it to declare the dividend which will be paid on October 31 to shareholders on record as of September 4.
“Following these results, the board of directors considered and approved payment of an interim dividend of Sh1 per share to be paid in the next 90 days. From a capital perspective, the bank has sufficient cover,” KCB said in a statement.
The lender’s dividend payout has risen significantly in the wake of interest rate controls, confirming analysts’ view that some banks will return more capital to shareholders at a time when they have curtailed lending to riskier customers.
KCB paid a dividend of Sh3 per share or Sh9.1 billion for the year ended December, up from Sh2 per share or Sh6.1 billion the year before.
The lender’s interest income dropped 3.9 per cent in the half year ended June to Sh30.3 billion despite a 16.7 per cent expansion of the loan book to Sh406.9 billion, indicating the impact of the narrowed interest rate spreads.
KCB raised its purchase of government securities by a quarter to Sh101.7 billion, with most of the treasuries held on a short term basis. Its operating expenses including staff costs rose 5.3 per cent to Sh19.8 billion.
The lender benefited from a 20.7 per cent drop in interest expenses to Sh7.2 billion despite customer deposits rising marginally to reach Sh482.8 million.
KCB also recorded a 2.4 per cent rise in non-interest income to Sh11.4 billion while provisions for bad debt declined 2.3 per cent to Sh2 billion despite gross defaults rising marginally to Sh33.2 billion.
The lender’s tax bill dropped from Sh4.5 billion to Sh4 billion after it deferred taxes amounting to Sh478.5 million.