Kenya's Centum posts 1.1 percent H1 pre-tax profit growth

NAIROBI Tue Nov 13, 2012 8:28am EST

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NAIROBI Nov 13 (Reuters) - Kenyan investment firm Centum posted 1.1 percent growth in pre-tax profit for the six months ending Sept. 30 on Tuesday.

The firm, which has a portfolio of more than $190 million invested across assets, saw its pre-tax profit increase to 836.8 million shillings ($9.79 million) for the first half ended Sept. 30, from 827.9 million shillings in the same period last year.

Centum, which is also cross-listed in Uganda, said in a statement the fair value gain in quoted investments rose to 275.6 million shillings, from a loss of 338.9 million shillings last year.

The main share index of the stock market has rebounded this year gaining 29.5 percent thanks to strong growth mainly in banking stocks. In 2011, investors shunned the bourse in favour of higher returns in the debt market.

Centum however posted reduced fair value gain in unquoted investments of 85.7 million shillings this year, from 185.5 million last year, while currency translation differences registered a loss of 4.0 million shillings from a profit of 218.4 million previously.

"The value of assets was lower when converted into Kenyan shillings, which could imply that currencies in the countries where they have investments, depreciated against the shilling," said Eric Musau, a research analyst at Standard Investment Bank.

On Nov. 2, Centum said its earnings might be hit by a court case involving four Coca-Cola bottling companies in Kenya in which it has invested, which represents just over a quarter of its total assets. ($1 = 85.5000 Kenyan shillings) (Reporting by Beatrice Gachenge; Editing by Yara Bayoumy)

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