Pan-African banking group Bank Of Africa has announced plans to sell part of its shareholding to Kenyans through listing in the Nairobi Securities Exchange.
This is in its quest to penetrate the Kenyan retail market and targets the listing as a way to gain acceptance of local consumers.
Kwame Ahadzi, BOA Kenya Managing Director said the decision to seek public listing follows new conditions by the group's new majority shareholder. Last year, Banque Marocaine du Commerce Exterieur which is the second largest banking group in Morroco acquired about 60 per cent of BOA group.
"To them, a number of things have to happen, they believe we should be bolder in our shareholding...I cannot put a timeline but I can confirm that sooner than later the shareholding will be expanded to include Kenyans, " said Ahadzi. He was speaking on Thursday night in Nairobi while announcing the appointment of the first Kenya chairman of the bank, Ambassador Dennis Awori. "What we are doing now is to prepare the bank for future listing,"Ahadzi said.
BOA Kenya which opened doors in 2004 also owns the subsidiaries in Uganda and Tanzania. It has grown its capital base from Sh648 million in 2004 to Sh4.7 billion in June 2012 and its total assets from Sh5 billion to Sh44 billion. Its loan book has also expanded from Sh3.18 billion in 2004 to Sh26 billion this year while its deposits have grown from Sh3.08 billion to Sh31 billion.
"If the agenda of becoming a real national bank is to hold, it means we have to have people of Kenya who have shares in the bank, so we will be at the stock exchange," the MD said.
Other main shareholders of the Mali-based Group are PROPARCO, a division of the French Development Agency and Netherlands Development Finance Company. BOA has been in corporate banking and is now planning to aggressively enter the retail market.
"We cannot become a bank with a national character in all the counties which is out ambition, without having capital and for that we can always look to the shareholders," Ahadzi said. The bank is ranked 15th in size in this market out of the 43 commercial bank with 24 branches and a customer base of 38,000. Awori is also the chairman of Toyota Kenya and sits on the board of Kenya Airways.