* Year pretax profit up 8 pct to 13 bln shillings
* Increase attributed to lower loan loss provisions
* Integration with Absa could lead to higher income
NAIROBI, Feb 13 Barclays Kenya expects
to grow income by drawing on the resources and experience of
Absa Group after the two businesses are integrated, the
incoming head of the Kenyan business said on Wednesday.
Parent company Barclays decided to merge its Africa
operations last year to increase the share of profit from the
operation, which accounts for about 8 percent of the British
bank's global business.
"The integration with Absa as we move forward is going to
bring new capabilities which we are going to be able to leverage
... to drive future income growth," Jeremy Awori told reporters
after an investor briefing.
The bank's 2012 pretax profit grew 8 percent to 13.0 billion
shillings ($148.8 million) after it reduced loan impairment
charges 80 percent to 144 million shillings.
Its shares fell 1.8 percent to 16.20 shillings.
"The results were consistent with what they have done in the
last few years which is a conservative strategy of managing
risk," said Judd Murigi, an analyst at African Alliance.
Kenyan lenders have posted good growth in recent years with
collective industry profit jumping 20.4 percent to 89.3 billion
shillings in 2011, according to the central bank.
Barclays Kenya's low-risk appetite has been blamed by
analysts for its slower pace of earnings growth compared with
local lenders such as Equity Bank and Kenya Commercial
"The numbers were very defensive. The bank's model is not a
high growth model," said Aly Khan Satchu, an independent trader
and analyst. Both Equity and KCB routinely post high
double-digit profit growth.
Mohamed said he expected the bank to benefit from the
integration with Absa but ruled out a radical change to
strategy. "The risk philosophy and portfolio is not going to
change. If the macro-environment changes for the better, then
you will see us do more business" he told reporters.