Atlas Mara Limited and Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Group Plc has signed a definitive agreement to acquire 62.06% of issued shares in Banque Populaire du Rwanda Plc (BPR).
BPR, which is run by Atlas Mara since 2016 is one of Rwanda’s most popular bank with branches reaching all corners of the country.
On the other hand, KCB is East Africa’s largest commercial Bank established in 1896, with operations in East and Southern African regional countries like Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Zambia, South Sudan and Kenya its home country of origin.
The deal announcement was reached this November 26, 2020 leveraging BPR’s commercial activities in the country as it looks forward to benchmark on KCB’s regional experience to seal footsteps and competition in Rwanda.
“Once implemented, the combined bank is expected to double its market share resulting in a robust balance sheet and capital structure that will support growth in the post Covid-19 macroeconomic recovery period thus ensuring the banks’ customers benefit from being a part of one of the biggest Banking groups in East Africa,” a KCB press statement said in part.
What does this mean?
Seasoning of this deal takes away earlier proposed plans and courting by another Kenya based 2nd largest commercial bank (Equity Bank) that had eyed scooping the 62%.
This deal will be followed by a subsequent merger of BPR with KCB’s wholly-owned subsidiary operating in Rwanda- KCB Bank Rwanda Plc.
The key highlights of the proposed transaction include a complementary transaction that combines KCB Rwanda’s strong corporate banking franchise with BPR’s retail and commercial banking operations.
Moreover, KCB Rwanda and BPR’s customers will benefit from a well-capitalized banking group, enhanced product and service offering, and a broader distribution network in country and across the region.
Following the legal merger of the two banks, the enlarged entity is expected to be the 2nd largest bank in the country and will be a majority owned subsidiary of KCB Group.
KCB Rwanda Managing Director, George Odhiambo, said reaching this agreement between a strong retail and commercial bank with one of the largest branch network in the industry and long history spanning over 45 years in the country was a milestone.
“This merger will increase our scale and improve our operating leverage by enabling us to deliver existing retail and wholesale offerings to a wider base of customers in Rwanda while positioning the bank for sustainable growth in the long-term,” Odhiambo said.
Odhiambo retreated the merger will provide current KCB Rwanda customers with access to a larger network of branches and agents across the country, while BPR’s customers would benefit from best in class digital capability, transactional banking solutions, trade finance expertise and international banking offering from KCB.
“Through this transaction, we will play a greater role in Rwanda’s economic expansion, using our combined balance sheet to support our clients while leveraging our enhanced distribution network to deepen financial inclusion and provide lending and trade finance solutions to entrepreneurs and SMEs in Rwanda,” he said.
Maurice Toroitich, the CEO of BPR, said this transaction represents an opportunity for BPR to benefit from being part of the largest banking group in East Africa and confidence that BPR will benefit from KCB Rwanda’s digital banking capabilities, complementary branch and agents network, innovative product offering across retail, SME, corporate and payments as well as trade finance and international banking offering leveraging the broader KCB regional footprint.
“I want to assure our clients that the safety of their banking operations and high-quality customer service will remain our top priorities during the transition. They can look forward to new products and services as the combined institution pursues sustainable growth,” Toroitich said.
Toroitich stated that the main mission objective is to serve and support customers during this challenging time (Covid-19); to leverage on the combined business which will contribute to the meaningful economic development of the country which will come with teamwork.