Kenya’s Standard Chartered Profits Soar by 70%

Standard Chartered Bank Kenya said on Monday that its pretax profit rose 70% to a five-year high last year, but that surging energy prices stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and other factors clouded the outlook.

As a result of easing COVID-related restrictions, the lender, which is controlled by Standard Chartered Plc, posted a pretax profit of 12.6 billion shillings ($110.4 million).

Chief Executive Kariuki Ngari told an investor briefing that “some of the optimism we had has been tempered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

Kenya, like other oil importers, has been affected by the rocketing crude prices as the West tightens sanctions against Russia.

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One of the oldest banks in the East African country, StanChart, has been turning its attention to wealth management in recent years to gain an edge over its bigger competitors, such as KCB Group and Equity.

As a result of its wealth management and financial markets businesses, Stanchart’s non-interest income has grown by a quarter during the last year.

“We are no longer limited to savings and fixed deposits,” Ngari said, adding that clients were investing in local bonds and shares in foreign markets through StanChart’s platform, as part of that diversification strategy.

Last year, StanChart managed 131 billion shillings, he said. It employs 100 wealth management advisers.

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According to Chief Financial Officer Chemutai Murgor, the bank’s net losses from bad debts declined as the government removed restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the Coronavirus, including an overnight curfew, allowing distressed borrowers to resume servicing their loans.

The bank increased the total dividend by 81% to 19 shillings per share for the period.

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