The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: CBK Approves Fina Bank's Takeover By Nigerian Firm

FINA Bank will be renamed Guaranty Trust Bank Kenya after the Central Bank approved the takeover of the Kenyan bank. Nigeria's Guaranty Trust Bank has been allowed to acquire a 70 per cent shareholding in Fina Bank Kenya which also operates in Uganda and Rwanda.

"The approval for acquisition takes effect as from Novermber 8, 2013," said Central Bank governor Njuguna Ndung'u in a notice on the Kenya Gazette dated December 6. "The resulting institution shall be called Guaranty Trust Bank Kenya Limited." The deal was approved by Fina Bank's shareholders during an extra-ordinary general meeting held on June 27 where they resolved to sell the 70 per cent stake.

The board of directors of the Nigerian Bank had in January of this year approved the takeover of the majority stake estimated to cost them over Sh8.5 billion ($100 million). In July, GT Bank announced the intended takeover pending regulatory approvals.

"GT Bank will enter East Africa through a multi-country and scalable platform thus expanding its international presence in Sub-Saharan Africa," it said in a statement. According to information on its website, Fina Bank was originally incorporated as a non banking financial institution on January 15, 1986. It was then known as "Finance International Limited", a name that was later changed to "The Finance Institution of Africa".

The original owners were the Francis Da Gama Rose family - a group with diversified business interests in East Africa. On August 1991, Dhanu Hansraj Chandaria (a successful entrepreneur in the manufacturing sector) together with a group of professional shareholders, took control of The Finance Institution of Africa and put it on a new growth path. Since the company was already known as "FINA", the new owners changed its registered trading name to Fina. In 1995, the banking laws in Kenya were changed and NFBIs were required to convert into fully-fledged commercial banks or close down. Fina was among the first institutions to seize the opportunity and thus "Fina Bank Limited" (FBL) was born on February 14, 1996.

It immediately started providing full banking services. As at end of September 2013, Fina Bank posted a profit before tax of Sh365.5 million with loans of Sh9.4 billion and customer deposits of Sh14.7 billion. The bank has an asset base of Sh19.4 billion.

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