August 21, 2014 / 3:51 PM / in 3 years

Kenya's TransCentury swings to H1 loss after sale of railway stake

NAIROBI, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Kenyan investment firm TransCentury reported a first-half pretax loss on Thursday, blaming the result on the sale of its stake in railway company RVR.

Founded as an investment club by a group of wealthy Kenyans, TransCentury said in a statement new power and construction projects would improve its second-half performance.

The company, which runs an electricity equipment maker and an engineering services firm active in the nascent petroleum and mining sectors in Kenya, sold its 34 percent stake in RVR to Egyptian private equity firm Citadel Capital in March.

The $43.7 million received from the sale meant TransCentury had recovered its entire cash investment in RVR, but the proceeds were below the historical fair value of the investment.

The loss before tax came in at 1.5 billion shillings ($16.99 million) for the half year to the end of June, compared with a pretax profit of 590 million shillings in the year-ago period.

Revenue fell by 30 percent to 4.95 billion shillings due to a delay to the start of several construction projects under its engineering division, the company said. However, the projects kicked off at the start of the second half of the year.

The company has said it will invest more than $2 billion in building power plants, gas storage facilities and roads as it broadens its operations to include potentially lucrative infrastructure projects.

1 US dollar = 88.3000 Kenyan shilling Reporting by James Macharia, editing by David Evans

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