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KCB seeks to pan out in Africa

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 27 – The Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Group has revealed that it is working on a strategic blueprint to guide its quest to become a pan African bank by 2013.

The Group’s Chairman Peter Muthoka told an investor briefing on Friday that the road map would help steer the vision, as they start consolidating their business in all the markets they operate in, in preparation for a continental take-off.

“Having made significant progress towards the achievement of our vision to be the best bank in the region, we have adopted a plan to reflect a new direction for the bank,” he enthused.

Mr Muthoka said the amount of investments made in the venture would be informed by the strategies that have been adopted in the various areas they have a footprint.

He added that 2009 would mark the beginning of a journey for KCB to become the leading player in Africa’s financial system.

“We want to be the preferred provider of (financial) solutions in Africa with a global reach. In the meantime, we want to spend a lot of time and resources streamlining our operations, creating an efficient financial platform,” Mr Muthoka added.

The Chairman said that they would in 2010 start their expansion in other African markets. Already, the bank is preparing to venture into Burundi (the last country in the East African Community for them to set up their operations) which should be operational by the end of this year.

The bank has a presence in Tanzania, Uganda, Southern Sudan and Rwanda and it plans to increase its branch network in these countries in the future.

During the briefing, Mr Muthoka sought to assure their customers and stakeholders that the bank is managed prudently. He added that they had instituted several committees including one to oversee risk management, in order to address the board’s strategic responsibilities.

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The reassurance came at a time when KCB was in the limelight after it emerged that it stood a chance of losing billions of shillings it had spent to finance Triton Petroleum, which is in the middle of a Sh7.6 billion oil scam.

Mr Muthoka spoke during an investor briefing when they announced a 41 percent increase in after tax profits to Sh4.19 billion, for the year ended December 31, 2008.

KCB’s Chief Executive Officer Martin Oduor-Otieno said the performance was mainly due to a 39 percent growth in net interest income, as well as the impressive rise in foreign exchange earnings.

“The performance in the foreign exchange business almost doubled by 94 percent driven fundamentally by increased level of transactions. Some of the volatility, which also occurred during the year (2008) also contributed significantly,” he added.

The board has recommended a dividend payout of Sh1 for each share held. Shareholders will have a chance to approve the Sh2.2 billion payment during the bank’s Annual General Meeting in May.

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