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Uganda's central bank sells Imperial shareholding to Tanzanian lender

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Imperial Bank branch in Kampala: Uganda’s central bank has sold its majority stake in Imperial Bank Uganda, previously held by Kenya’s collapsed Imperial Bank, to Tanzania’s Exim Bank. PHOTO | FILE   

By VICTOR JUMA

Posted  Monday, March 7   2016 at  11:40

In Summary

  • The sale of Bank of Uganda's stake to the Tanzanian multinational has effectively ended the regulator’s statutory management.
  • Exim Bank is one of the largest lenders in Tanzania and also operates subsidiaries in Djibouti and the Union of Comoros.

Uganda’s central bank has sold a majority stake in Imperial Bank Uganda, previously held by Kenya’s collapsed Imperial Bank, to Tanzania’s Exim Bank.

The transaction has whittled down Imperial’s assets - whose only subsidiary was the Ugandan unit which it formed in 2010.

The Kenyan bank had invested a total of Ksh858 million ($254,226) in the Ugandan subsidiary as of 2014 when the unit had gross assets of Ksh7.9 billion ($2.3 million).

“Bank of Uganda (BoU) has recently sold 58.6 per cent ordinary shares of Imperial Bank (Uganda), formerly held by Imperial Bank (Kenya), to Exim Bank (Tanzania) Ltd,” BoU’s governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile said in a statement Monday morning.

“BoU congratulates Exim Bank, the new majority shareholders, and the old minority shareholders,” Prof Tumusiime-Mutebile added.

Exim Bank is one of the largest lenders in Tanzania and also operates subsidiaries in Djibouti and the Union of Comoros.

The sale leaves Imperial’s shareholders and creditors including bondholders with the bank’s assets in Kenya to contend over.

BoU placed Imperial Bank Uganda under receivership in October last year, following a similar action on the parent company by Kenya’s Central Bank of Kenya as accounts of fraud at the lender surfaced.

“Accordingly, Imperial Bank Uganda has changed its name to Exim Bank (Uganda),” Prof Tumusiime-Mutebile said, noting that the sale of the stake to the Tanzanian multinational has effectively ended the regulator’s statutory management.