Kenya’s Equity Bank Joins List Of Investors Interested In Barclays Stake In Africa

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Written by Kevin Mwanza

Equity Bank, Kenya’s largest bank by customers, has said it would be interested to buy Barclays stake in African, Reuters reported

According to Bloomberg, UK-based Barclays plans to reduce its 62.3 percent shares in its African operations to less than 20 percent. This has attracted several banking players from across the continent and internationally.

The bank’s chief executive officer, James Mwangi told Reuters that the huge banking infrastructure Barclays Bank has on the continent is a key motivation for Equity’s interest.

“If there is anybody who is well-positioned in the region to take up the spoils, it is Equity Bank,” Mwangi said about the Barclays decision, citing Equity’s focus on small-and medium-size enterprises as a major competitive advantage.

Equity’s interest in Barclays Africa comes in the wake of improved performance reported in 2015. It posted a 12 percent rise in pretax profit  to $237 million.

The Kenyan bank, which targets low income earners and small business enterprises, has operations in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. These subsidiaries contributed to six percent of the bank’s pre-profit last year.

The bank also eyeing Ghana, although it said earlier this year that it had slowed down on its expansion program to consolidate on it existing markets.

Other banking institutions and financial service providers both from within africa and globally interested in the Barclays assets on the continent include South Africa’s Public Investment Corporation (PIC), which already owns 5.44 percent of Barclays Africa, National Bank of Abu Dhabi — which is seen as a possible bidder for the whole of Barclays stake — and Atlas Mara, an Africa-focused financial sector investment vehicle co-founded by former Barclays CEO Bob Diamond and Qatar National Bank.