Equity Bank Ltd. (EQBNK), Kenya’s biggest lender by customers, gained for a sixth day, closing at its highest level in almost three weeks, on speculation the company will raise funds from existing shareholders.
The stock advanced as much as 2.1 percent to 19.50 shillings before trading 1.1 percent higher at 19.30 shillings by the 3 p.m. close in Nairobi, the capital, on volume that was 214 percent of its three-month average.
“The fact that it disclosed it has plans for recapitalizations is a huge momentum driver for the stock,” George Bodo, an equity strategist at Nairobi-based Apex Africa Capital Ltd., said in a phone interview today.
Equity Bank may look at raising funding next year, and is considering options including a rights offering, Chief Executive Officer James Mwangi told reporters on March 8. The lender has no plans to raise funds this year, he said.
The bank’s 2011 profit surged 44 percent to 10.3 billion shillings ($124 million) as it increased lending, especially to small and medium-size businesses, Mwangi said. Net interest income climbed to 19.3 billion shillings from 13.8 billion shillings.
Lydia Kiburu, the head of communications, and Alex Muhia, the personal assistant to Mwangi weren’t available for comment when Bloomberg News called them today.
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