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Access Bank pushes expansion frontiers, acquires Kenyan largest bank

Ms. Bolaji Agbede, Acting Group Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings Plc

*Access Bank Holdings Plc confirms Access Bank Plc will acquire the entire issued share capital of the National Bank of Kenya from KCB, also the holding company of KCB Bank Limited, Kenya’s largest commercial bank

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

In its drive to create an enlarged franchise to activate a strategic objective for the Kenyan and East African markets, Access Bank has announced a deal to acquire the National Bank of Kenya Limited from the KCB Group Plc.

ConsumerConnect reports the Access Holdings Plc (Holdco), parent company of the financial institution, disclosed this development in a statement filed with the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited Wednesday, March 20, 2024.

The HoldCo said Access Bank Plc would acquire the entire issued share capital of the National Bank of Kenya from KCB, which is also the holding company of KCB Bank Limited, Kenya’s largest commercial bank.

It also stated, “following the completion of the transaction, the target would be combined with Access Bank Kenya Plc to create an enlarged franchise in the pursuit of our strategic objective for the Kenyan and East African markets.”

Transaction a significant step in repositioning bank as Africa’s gateway: Agbede, Acting GCEO

In her remarks on the transnational deal, Ms. Bolaji Agbede, Acting Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of Access Holdings Plc, was quoted to have said: “This proposed acquisition marks a significant step in the execution of our five-year strategic plan aimed at positioning the bank as Africa’s gateway to the world.

“The deal with NBK, a historically strong and well-known bank in Kenya with a balance sheet in excess of $1.1bn, presents a compelling opportunity to scale up our growth in the East African market.”

Ms. Agbede stated: “We remain confident that our investments towards diversifying and strengthening the bank’s long-term earnings profile will deliver significant value for our shareholders, customers, and wider stakeholder groups.”

The top financial institution further noted that the acquisition was in furtherance of its African expansion strategy and would reposition it as a stronger and “significant player in the Kenyan market whilst serving as a regional hub for our East African bloc anchored by a solidified balance sheet.”

It said: “The parties will be working together in the coming months to fulfill the conditions precedent relating to the transaction, which includes the regulatory approvals of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Central Bank of Kenya.

“Sequel to the completion of the transaction, the target would be combined with Access Bank Kenya Plc to create an enlarged franchise in the pursuit of our strategic objective for the Kenyan and East African markets.”

It is recalled that Access Bank, July 2023, had entered into acquisition agreements with Standard Chartered Bank for the acquisition of Standard Chartered’s shareholding in its subsidiaries in Angola, Cameroon, The Gambia, and Sierra Leone, and its Consumer, Private & Business Banking business in Tanzania.

During the signing of the deal which was signed by Regional CEO, Africa & Middle East, Standard Chartered, Sunil Kaushal, and Group Managing Director, Access Bank Plc, Roosevelt Ogbonna, noted the agreement with Access for the sale of the bank’s business in Sub-Saharan Africa was in line with Standard Chartered’s global strategy, aimed at achieving operational efficiencies, reducing complexity, and driving scale.

The transaction is expected to be completed over the next 12 months.

Speaking on the bank’s five-year expansion growth plan, Ogbonna also said, “Our five-year growth plan will see us build a world-class class payments gateway leveraging the power of technology and supported by a dynamic ecosystem of local and international partnerships, enabling us to serve global payments and remittances efficiently.

He stated: “With our recent European expansion and our deepened presence in key trading corridors across Africa, we will bridge the gap between cross-border and domestic transfers across all business segments.

“More importantly, we are committed to impacting our host communities positively.”

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