August 20, 2014 / 4:01 PM / in 4 years

UPDATE 1-Kenya's KenolKobil H1 pretax profit jumps on cost cuts

(Adds second-half outlook, details)

NAIROBI, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Kenyan oil marketer KenolKobil reported a 299 percent jump in first half pretax profit, largely due to cost savings, and forecast further growth this year.

KenolKobil, which operates in several regional countries including Ethiopia, said in a statement on Wednesday profits to the end of June had risen as a result of cuts to its financing, operating and staff costs, an exercise it started in 2013.

The company’s pretax profit climbed to 795 million shillings ($9.01 million) and the oil-marketer forecast “improved profitability during the second half of 2014”.

KenolKobil had swung to a profit in 2013 from a big loss the previous year, helped by lower exchange rate losses and cost cuts that saw it slash 41 percent of its jobs.

For the first half of this year, KenolKobil said operating costs fell by 22 percent to 257 million shillings compared to the same period last year, while financing costs also dropped.

The cost savings were strong enough to cushion its exchange rate losses, which fell to 142 million shillings compared with 158 million shillings in the first half of 2013, the firm said.

The company’s shares closed trading at 8.05 shillings per share. The results were issued after the market had closed.

1 US dollar = 88.2000 Kenyan shilling Reporting by James Macharia; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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