Bank of Kigali plans to list shares on Nairobi bourse

KIGALI, May 18 (Reuters) - Bank of Kigali, whose shares are already traded in Rwanda, plans to list stock on the Nairobi Securities Exchange in the second half of this year as part of a drive to raise up to $70 million for investment, it said on Friday.

Founded 51 years ago, Bank of Kigali is the biggest lender in Rwanda by assets and it operates 79 outlets and an insurance business. Its shares were listed on the Rwandan stock exchange in 2011.

"We have made a decision to raise additional capital in the neighbourhood of about $60-70 million in the second half of the year both domestically in Rwanda and internationally on the capital markets," Marc Holtzman, the chairman, told shareholders on Friday.

He said some of the shares would be offered on the Nairobi stock exchange, which is the biggest in the East African region.

"On the average day the turnover in U.S. dollars on the Kigali stock exchange is 20,000, in Nairobi it's 7 million," he said.

Diane Karusisi, the chief executive of the bank, said $10-20 million of the funds to be raised by the bank would be invested in technology systems for the bank, to allow mobile phone-based lending, and in its insurance business.

The bank would also boost its lending capability, she added.

"We need to play a huge role in giving more loans to projects in the country like the construction of new Bugesera international airport," she said.

The lender was holding talks with Mauritius' biggest insurance firm, Swan, with a view to sell a 30 percent stake in its insurance business to the Mauritian company.

Bank of Kigali's pretax profit rose 14 percent last year to 34.2 billion francs. (Reporting by Clement Uwingiriyimana; Writing by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Mark Potter)