Kenya’s I&M Holdings Plc is in the process of acquiring Orient Bank Uganda, in a deal estimated at Ksh2.34 billion ($23.4 million), while remaining open to emerging opportunities in the Democratic Republic of Congo that has become a hunting ground for top East African banks.
This comes after the board of the Kenyan lender approved Ksh1.87 billion ($18.7 million) of additional investment in the banking operations last year, according to the bank’s annual report.
The bank’s CEO Kihara Maina told The EastAfrican that the lender, which is listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange, is keen on completing its presence in East Africa with the Uganda acquisition while keeping tabs on banking opportunities in the neighbouring mineral-rich Central African nation.
“We will keep an open mind (on DRC) but for now our focus is Uganda,” said Mr Maina
“We are in most East African countries and have wanted to complete our regional presence because of the needs that our customers expect and we feel Uganda gives us the opportunity to service our customers across the region.”
In a cautionary statement to shareholders last week, the bank said it has entered into an agreement with Orient Bank for the sale and purchase of shares equivalent to 90 per cent of the issued share capital of the lender, which currently is Ush96.75 billion ($26 million), putting the value of the transaction at around$23.4 million (Ksh2.34 billion).
According to Mr Maina, the transaction could be completed within the next five months or early next year subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals Central Bank of Kenya, the Bank of Uganda, and the Capital Markets Authority.
“If all goes well we should be done by the end of the year and if it takes time hopefully should be completed by early next year,” he said.
“We have been in Tanzania for a while and in Rwanda we are one of the oldest banks in the country,” Mr Maina added.
Last year, Orient Bank, which started operations in Uganda in 1993 made a net loss of Ush1.05 billion ($283,058) from a net profit of Ush5.55 billion ($1.49 million) in 2018 weighed down by bad debt written off and non-performing loans.
During the period the lender which has 22 branches in Uganda saw its NPLs and other assets surge to Ush60.02 billion ($16.13 million) from Ush14.8 billion ($3.97 million) while bad debts written off increased to Ush11.25 billion ($3.02 million) from Ush7.82 billion ($2.1 million).
Its total assets increased to Ush814.3 billion ($218 million) from Ush749.85 billion ($201 million) while core capital shrank to Ush57.16 billion ($15.36 million) from Ush80.77 billion ($21.7 million).he BoU Financial Stability Report of June 2019.