Equity Group added 538 employees to its payroll last year on an increased number of branches mainly in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) which hosts its most profitable subsidiary.
The lender disclosed in its latest annual report that the number of permanent staff hit 8,226 in the year ended December 2022 from 7,688 in the previous year.
The latest numbers mean Equity has expanded its workforce by 1,908 in the past four years, highlighting the impact of continued expansion in the region. It had 6,318 staff in 2018.
Equity had by September last year added 16 branches to hit 353 from 337 in December 2021, with DRC’s Equity Banque Commerciale du Congo (Equity BCDC) branches increasing from 70 to 81.
The group now has a presence in Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Rwanda and DRC. The subsidiaries have been increasing their share in Equity’s total profits, fueled by expansion and fresh investment.
Equity’s latest disclosures show that the growth of subsidiaries has cut the share of Kenyan operations in the group profits from 85 percent in 2018 to 72.4 percent at the end of last year.
The lender 2020 acquired a 66.53 percent stake in BCDC from the family of George Forrest and merged it with the existing subsidiary in DRC to form Equity BCDC which has emerged as the largest business outside Kenya.
The increase in the number of employees saw Equity’s staff costs rise 29.8 percent to Sh24.8 billion in the review period compared to Sh19.1 billion a year earlier.
The jump in payroll expenses inflated the group’s overall operating costs from Sh61.5 billion to Sh86.1 billion.
Equity Group CEO James Mwangi said the rise in staff costs was also due to salary increases during the review period.