November 20, 2014 / 4:57 AM / in 3 years

Kenya's Centum says six-month profit before tax up by quarter

NAIROBI, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Kenyan firm Centum Investment Company Ltd on Thursday said first-half profit before tax rose by a quarter, fuelled by a sharp increase in investment income although it noted costs also climbed.

“With improving economic fundamentals and our active portfolio management, we are confident of better prospects for generating market beating returns during the second half of the year,” it said in a statement of unaudited results.

The company, which has investments in both listed and private firms, is diversifying into the fast-growing property sector, including the Two Rivers mall in Nairobi. Construction of phase one of the mall is due for commissioning in June 2015.

Profit before tax for the six-month period that ended on Sept. 30 climbed to 1.285 billion shillings ($14.28 million) from 1.032 billion a year earlier.

Investment income for the period rose 58 percent to 1.897 billion shillings from 1.198 billion shillings a year ago.

But the firm also noted a 209 percent rise in operating and administrative costs to 677 million shillings. It said this was partly due to the creation of services subsidiaries, which it said were generating income.

1 US dollar = 90.0000 Kenyan shilling Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Stephen Coates

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