Kenya's Equity Bank says profit rises 36 pct in 2012

NAIROBI Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:04am EST

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NAIROBI Feb 28 (Reuters) - Equity Bank of Kenya posted a 36 percent rise in pretax profit for 2012 to 17.42 billion shillings ($201.85 million) thanks to solid growth in its loan book and a jump in net interest earnings, the company said on Thursday.

Earnings per share in Equity, which is the largest bank by customer numbers in the east African country, rose 17 percent to 3.26 shillings, the bank's Chief Executive Officer James Mwangi told an investor briefing.

The bank recommended a dividend of 1.25 shillings per share, up 25 percent on 2011. ($1 = 86.3000 Kenyan shillings) (Reporting by Beatrice Gachenge; Editing by Richard Lough)