* Pretax profit rebounds to 2.8 bln shillings
* Considers expansion into Tanzania, Rwanda this year
* Sets up 10 billion shillings property fund
NAIROBI, March 14 Kenyan diversified financial
services firm British American on Thursday reported a
2.8 billion shillings ($32.81 million) pretax profit for last
year, recovering from a 1.7 billion loss a year earlier.
The company, which has insurance, asset management and
property development businesses, attributed the recovery to
higher revenues from sale of insurance policies and investment
Insurance is seen as a growth area 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
Benson Wairegi, group managing director, said income from
the group's investment portfolio rose 5 billion shillings during
the period, up from a loss of 2.1 billion shillings earlier.
Financial markets performed strongly last year with the
benchmark share index of the Nairobi bourse and Kenyan bond
yields going up.
Gross revenue from its insurance and asset management arms
grew by nearly a quarter to 7.2 billion shillings.
Earnings per share rose to 1.40 shillings from a loss per
share of 1.09 shillings, British American said, adding it was in
the process of setting up a 10 billion shilling property fund.
It said it would raise its product distribution network in
Kenya through recruitment of staff and investment in information
technology. The group, which operates in Uganda and South Sudan,
said it plans to expand into Tanzania and Rwanda before the end
of this year.
Its shares fell just over 2 percent to 8.70 shillings each
as investors booked profits following a 50 percent rally in the
year-to-date, traders said.
($1 = 85.3500 Kenyan shillings)
(Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing by George Obulutsa and