CBA in deal to buy Rwandan unit of Uganda’s Crane Bank

Friday June 16 2017

Commercial Bank of Africa group MD Isaac Awuondo. FILE  | DIANA NGILA | NMG

Commercial Bank of Africa group MD Isaac Awuondo. FILE | DIANA NGILA | NMG  

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Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA), has entered into an agreement to acquire the Rwandan subsidiary of Uganda’s Crane Bank for an undisclosed amount, the lender has confirmed.

CBA is set to fully acquire Crane Bank Rwanda from Uganda’s Dfcu Bank, in a deal that CBA management expects to be concluded by mid-September.

The Bank of Uganda last October took over the management of Crane Bank — at the time the country’s fourth-largest lender — after it encountered financial difficulty due to under-capitalisation. It sold it to Dfcu in January.

The transaction, which is subject to approval by several regulators, is expected to be concluded 90 days after June 14, when the sale deal was signed. The acquisition price has, however, not been disclosed.

If the acquisition sails through, the mid-tier Kenyan lender in which President Uhuru Kenyatta’s family are major shareholders will have a physical presence in four countries, including Uganda and Tanzania, moving it closer to its target of having operations in 10 African countries.

The bank has two branches in Uganda, 11 in Tanzania and 33 in Kenya. In Rwanda, CBA operates an equivalent of mobile banking service M-Shwari backed by a microfinance licence.

“This acquisition signals CBA’s strategic intentions to expand its existing business operations in Rwanda and participate meaningfully in Rwanda’s economic growth agenda,” the lender said in a statement.

CBA has in the past stated that the lender plans to set up shop in all eastern African nations, with branches in South Sudan, Rwanda and Burundi as well as Mozambique, DRC and Ethiopia through an online presence.