(Adds details of acquisition, Q1 trading update)
JOHANNESBURG May 3 (Reuters) - South Africa's Nedbank Group said on Friday it plans to acquire an initial 36 percent share of Mozambique's sixth-largest lender Banco Unico, and that it would later increase the stake to a majority shareholding.
The announcement comes as South African lenders are scouring the underbanked African continent in the hope of making acquisitions to hedge rising competition back home.
Nedbank, South Africa's fourth largest banking group, also plans to convert a $285 million loan to pan-African lender Ecobank later this year, it said.
In its first quarter trading update, Nedbank said that net interest income in the first three months grew 7.3 percent to 5.121 billion rand ($571 million) from 4.774 billion a year ago.
It recorded higher retail impairments as elevated consumer indebtedness and unsecured lending continued into 2013, while the credit loss ratio increased to 1.22 percent from 1.08 percent a year ago. ($1 = 8.9623 South African rand) (Reporting by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura; Editing by Pascal Fletcher)