I&M Bank Rwanda to go public as State prepares to sell its 19pc stake

Monday April 13 2015

The I&M Bank building in Nairobi. PHOTO | FILE

The I&M Bank building in Nairobi. PHOTO | FILE 

By DOREEN WAINAINAH

The Rwandan subsidiary of I&M Holdings is set to go public with the Rwandese government selling its 19.8 per cent stake in an initial public offering (IPO) expected to be completed later this year.

The government is expected to earn hundreds of millions of shillings in the share sale that will leave I&M’s interest in the subsidiary unchanged at 55 per cent.

“They have communicated to the holding company the intention to sale their stake through an IPO. The shares will be sold to the public,” said Shameer Patel, a manager at the Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firm.

“It’s part of the government’s plan to expand the capital markets in that country.”

The IPO will make the Rwandan subsidiary the only publicly traded unit of I&M which also has operations in Tanzania and Mauritius through majority owned subsidiaries.

Mr Patel said details of the bank’s listing on the Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE) will emerge later after transaction advisors are appointed.

The move to list I&M Bank Rwanda will broaden its shareholder base and also make it easier for founding shareholders to exit.

I&M acquired the Rwandan subsidiary in 2012 as part of a consortium that took over the 80 per cent stake held by private equity firm Actis in the bank then trading as Banque Commerciale du Rwanda (BCR).

Sovereign wealth funds Proparco (French) and DEG (German) each ended up with a 12.5 per cent equity in the company. The new investors joined the government of Rwanda and several Rwandese individuals –with a 0.2 per cent stake— who had co-owned the bank with Actis.

I&M’s majority stake saw it rebrand the lender to I&M Bank Rwanda as part of its integration into the holding company.

The upcoming IPO will see the entry of a significant number of retail investors in the bank’s shareholder list. It was not immediately clear whether the institutional investors Proparco and DEG –who are also shareholders in the parent company— will sell part of their interest in the subsidiary in the IPO.

DEG holds a 6.25 per cent stake in I&M Holdings while Proparco has a 4.43 per cent per cent interest in the company.

The two each sold 1.3 million shares in the parent firm in 2013 ahead of its listing on the NSE, earning Sh1.8 billion each.

The private I&M Holdings went public after a reverse merger with City Trust which was already trading on the NSE and whose investment in the bank’s shares formed the bulk of its assets.

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