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Equity Bank spreads tentacles to Congo

CAPTION: Equity Bank CEO James Mwangi

Equity Group Holdings expansion continues with the latest acquisition of a bank based in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Banque Commercial du Congo (BCDC) has been acquired at a cost of over Sh10 billion, which translates to 625,354 shares or 66.53 per cent of the bank.

The has acquired a majority stake in a Congolese bank at a cost of Sh10.3 billion as the race to the pinnacle of Kenya’s banking sector intensifies. In a public announcement, Equity Group CEO James Mwangi said yesterday the lender had reached an agreement with George Forrest and met all regulatory approvals.

This comes a month after Kenya’s second lender shelved plans to acquire London Stock Exchange-listed Atlas Mara, citing challenges occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The transaction would have seen Equity acquire a 62 per cent stake in Banque Populaire du Rwanda (BPR) and all of Atlas Mara’s subsidiaries in Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique (BancABC).

“EGH (Equity Group Holdings) is pleased to inform its shareholders and the public that the condition precedent in the acquisition, including the receipt of corporate and regulatory approvals, have been fulfilled and/or waived and the acquisition was completed on August 7,” he said.

It is the second such acquisition by the Equity Group, which now has two subsidiaries in the Democratic Republic of Congo, having earlier acquired ProCredit, a German bank, is banking on this amalgamation to penetrate this resource-rich economy.

The Banks’s CEO Mwangi reckoned that the acquisition would inflate Equity’s balance sheet in excess of $2 billion (Sh216 billion).

He said the merger would produce a subsidiary, contributing more than 20 per cent of the group’s total balance sheet. “We take this opportunity to welcome BCDC directors and employees to the EGH Group and look forward to working together to provide BCCDC’s current and new customers with access to competitive, tailored financial services to improve people’s lives and livelihoods whilst also delivering significant value to our stakeholders.”

The seller of the shares, Mr Forrest, said he chose the Kenyan lender because he believed it would add value to the Congolese banking sector.

“I sell my shares to Equity in the trust that it will make it the largest bank in Congo and continue to contribute to the development and transformation of the country,” said Forrest

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