(Bloomberg) -- KCB Group Plc is targeting an increase in full-year earnings of as much as 12% as Kenya’s biggest bank boosts lending and scouts for acquisitions to bolster an African expansion.

That’s more than double the pace in the first half as the Nairobi-based lender chases double-digit loans growth for the full year, mainly in the personal, corporate and manufacturing space, Chief Executive Officer Joshua Oigara said. An expansion of KCB’s mobile-banking services to all six markets in which it operates in the next two years will also help accelerate growth in non-interest revenue, he said.

“We are seeing a 30% increase in our fees and commissions income on a year-on-year basis,” Oigara said in an interview Thursday. “So our target this year, in terms of our growth of earnings, is between 10% and 12%.”

Extending loans via mobile phones is a “fantastic area of growth” for KCB, which recently began a mobile-money service in South Sudan, and is expanding its mobile-lending platform in Rwanda and Tanzania, Oigara said. The CEO’s comments come after KCB posted a 5% increase in first-half net income that was aided by a resurgence in lending after the scrapping of a government limit on interest rates, higher returns on investments in Treasury bills and a surge in fees and commissions.

The bank is ready to make deals to be the top bank in its selected markets as growing existing operations won’t be enough, said Chairman Andrew Kairu.

“In any market you’re in, if you’re not dominant, it doesn’t make any sense being there,” Kairu said. “There’s a lot of potential, and we can grow through mergers and acquisitions, so we are looking out for potential targets that have a strategic fit,” he said, without giving further details.

The more aggressive expansion strategy comes as KCB expects to wrap up its purchase of struggling state-owned rival National Bank of Kenya Ltd., by the end of September. The lender won’t boost its offer despite lawmakers concerns over the deal’s valuation, the CEO said.

The offer to pay 5.8 billion shillings ($56 million) for the cash-strapped lender “is finished,” according to Oigara. “You give an offer, there’s an expectation, and overall we have got an agreement.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Bella Genga in Nairobi at bgenga2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Paul Richardson at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net, Vernon Wessels, Helen Nyambura

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