* FY pretax profit up 24 pct to 4.3 bln shillings
* Rights issue to finance regional expansion plan
NAIROBI, March 1 (Reuters) - Kenyan lender Diamond Trust Bank on Thursday posted a 24 percent rise in full-year pretax profit and said it planned to offer a rights issue this year to finance expansion.
The bank, which also operates in Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi, said profit for the year rose to 4.3 billion shillings ($51.7 million) aided by a 37 percent growth in its loan book to 71 billion shillings.
Shares in the mid-tier bank fell 0.5 percent to 92.00 shillings after investors sold the stock on concerns that the rights issue would dampen the price.
“The loan book growth for such a small bank looks quite impressive and that boosted their earnings,” said Mwenda Rarama, an analyst at Kingdom Securities.
“The rights issue comes with a bit of dilution, and investors are reading that negatively.”
The bank will offer 24.5 million new shares on the basis of one for every eight shares, whose price will be determined at a later date.
“The raising of the additional capital through the rights issue is aimed at funding the bank’s plans to explore opportunities to further strengthen its current presence in east Africa,” said Abdul Samji, the bank’s chairman, in a statement.
Samji said the bank, which successfully raised funds through rights issues in 2006 and 2007, was looking to explore other markets in the region over the medium term.
Diamond Trust Bank’s net interest income rose to 6.7 billion shillings from 4.8 billion shillings.
The total dividend for the year increased by 27.5 percent to 1.70 shillings per share.
$1 = 83.1000 Kenyan shillings Reporting by Kevin Mwanza; Editing by James Macharia and Helen Massy-Beresford