KIGALI, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Rwanda’s biggest lender Bank of Kigali said on Friday its first-half pretax profit fell 3% to 21.5 billion Rwandan francs ($24.00 million), hit by rising non-performing loans.
Founded 53 years ago, the bank operates 68 branches and an insurance business. Its shares were listed on the Rwandan stock exchange in 2011. Last year, it cross-listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange.
It said its net loan book grew 35% to 650.2 billion francs year on year. The lender’s ratio of non-performing loans as a percentage of total assets grew to 6.4% up from 5.8 % in June 2018.
“The NPLs ratio increased and this affected the growth of our income but the we believe by the end of the year we will have reduced the ratio to less than 5%,” Diane Karusisi, the bank’s chief executive, told a news conference.
“The NPLs volume is 45 billion francs and that’s a lot of money,” she said.
“The sector that is mostly affected by NPL’s when you look at the first half is trade. We have one big client that went into default but as I told you we are making good progress in recovering,” CEO Karusisi said.
Among the projects the bank has financed in the period under review include “Mara phones”, which makes smartphones in Rwanda.
It also contributed to the financing of a 70MW peat to power project being built in the country’s southern province.
The bank’s total assets grew 22% year on year to 893.2 billion francs as of June 30, it said. ($1 = 895.8500 Rwandan francs) (Reporting by Clement Uwiringiyimana; Editing by George Obulutsa and Jane Merriman)