Mauritius Bank Building `Strong' Kenya Presence After Chase Deal

(Bloomberg) -- SBM Holdings Ltd., owner of Mauritius’s second-biggest bank, said it expects to be one of Kenya’s largest lenders within a year after acquiring part of Chase Bank Kenya Ltd., while remaining open to more deals in the country.

The purchase, signed off by Kenya’s central bank last week, will increase competition among lenders in East Africa’s biggest economy, where there have been seven acquisitions since 2015. Chase has a network of more than 60 branches with assets exceeding $1 billion, SBM said in a statement emailed Monday from the Mauritian capital, Port Louis.

“This landmark transaction will enable us to grow inorganically, taking SBM Kenya from 31st to 11th place as a strong Top Tier II bank within a year of its creation,” SBM Chairman Kee Chong Li Kwong Wing said in the statement. The transaction fits with the group’s strategy of having a greater regional presence to take “its footprint beyond Mauritius into the Asia-Africa corridor,” he said.

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SBM said last year it plans to double its 147 billion rupees ($4.4 billion) of assets in the next three years by entering into more markets in East Africa and venturing into the West African markets of Nigeria and Ghana from 2020, adding to its operations in India and Madagascar.

The lender may make further acquisitions in Kenya, where it bought Fidelity Commercial Bank Ltd. in May last year, Li Kwong Wing said by phone Monday from the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

“We are open to consider further opportunities in Kenya,” he said. “SBM Holdings has the capability and resources in this regard.”

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