Kenya's British American 2013 pretax profit up 12 pct

NAIROBI, March 7 Fri Mar 7, 2014 2:57am EST

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NAIROBI, March 7 (Reuters) - Kenyan diversified financial services firm British American (Britam) posted on Friday a 12 percent rise in full-year pretax profit, helped by a rise in investment income.

The company, which has insurance, asset management and property development businesses, said last year's pretax profit rose to 3.2 billion shillings ($36.9 million), after investment income rose 26 percent to 6.3 billion shillings.

Revenue rose 29 percent to 15.13 billion shillings. Earnings per share was unchanged at 1.40 shillings.

Insurance is seen as a growing industry in the region due to low levels of penetration. Only about 7 percent of the 40 million people in Kenya, east Africa's biggest economy, have any form of insurance.

The company said it would pay a final dividend of 0.25 shillings per share, the same as the previous year.

During the year, Britam started operations in Rwanda, adding to its presence in Uganda and South Sudan. It also opened 10 new branches in Kenya.

($1 = 86.6300 Kenyan shillings) (Reporting by George Obulutsa; Editing by James Macharia and David Holmes)

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