A regional Kenyan bank, I & M, has acquired up to 80 per cent stake in the Commercial Bank of Rwanda (BCR) from London-based private equity investor, Actis, for an undisclosed fee.
Actis has held 80 per cent of BCR's shareholding since 2004, when it acquired the shareholding from the government through the privatisation process, The Rwandan Government remains with 20 per cent stake.
I&M is a leading player in the consortium with two others, European Development Financial Institution-DEG and PROPARCO.
According to BCR Managing Director, Sanjeev Anand, several synergies and advantages will follow from the combination of I&M and BCR.
"For our clients, we believe we could jointly elevate our products innovation to another level. We have already identified some exciting opportunities in the areas of intermediating regional trade and investment flows, cross-border payment and money-transfer systems, e-Commerce and Card areas."
Anand noted that they expect better facilities for accessing DFI re-financing lines for mortgage as well as trade finance using I&M dominant positioning as a trade bank.
"For the shareholders, this transaction is expected to have scope for much higher return on equity and improvement in shareholder value," Anand explained.
BCR currently has a network of 15 branches, and over the years, the lender has built a strong profit operation with total assets of Rwf92.9 billion as of December last year.
The new board takes over under the continued leadership of William Irwin, who has been the chairman of BCR since 2009. Sanjeev Anand, who has been the Managing Director since 2009, retains his position.
I&M becomes the fourth Kenyan lender to invest in the country after Fina Bank, Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB Group) and Equity Bank.
I&M Bank's Executive Director, Sarit S. Raja Shah, said they intend to introduce innovative products and services that enhance customer convenience and their overall banking experience.
"This new acquisition further strengthens the position of I&M as regional player able to offer seamless one-stop solutions to customers who transact within the region," Shah explained.
He added that the acquisition will give BCR and I&M customers regional banking solutions and facilitate their expansion within the region.
I&M has presence in Kenya, Tanzania and Mauritius.