Access Bank Acquires National Bank of Kenya in Landmark East African Deal

Access Bank Acquires National Bank of Kenya in Landmark East African Deal

Nume Ekeghe

In a move that will reshape the East African banking landscape, Access Bank has acquired National Bank of Kenya (NBK) limited from KCB Group PLC (KCB).

Access Bank in a statement noted that the parties signed a binding agreement to acquire 100 per cent of NBK which is posed to solidify Access Bank as regional banking giant with a significant presence across Kenya and beyond.

Finalisation of the deal hinges on customary approvals,
including those from the Central Bank of Kenya, the Central Bank of Nigeria, and the COMESA Competition Commission.

In a statement made available to THISDAY, Access Bank states: “For Access Bank, this move underscores its commitment to bolstering its presence in Kenya and the broader East African region. Furthermore, the acquisition builds on the Bank’s growing operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, as well as its impending acquisitions of a majority stake in Uganda’s Finance Trust Bank Limited, the acquisition of majority equity stake in African Banking Corporation (Tanzania) Limited (“BancABC Tanzania”), and Standard Chartered Bank’s Consumer, Private & Business Banking business in Tanzania.

Commenting on the transaction, Roosevelt Ogbonna, Managing Director/Chief Executive of Access Bank Plc said: “The transaction represents an important milestone for the Bank as it moves us closer to the achievement of our five-year strategic plan through increased scale in the Kenyan market. We are building a strong and sustainable franchise to support economic prosperity, encourage Africa trade, advance financial inclusion thereby empowering many to achieve their financial dreams.

“Trade flows in East Africa revolve around key trade corridors, with Kenya being a key player in the region. With the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, these corridors will continue to expand and by deploying our best-in-class financial solutions, we are strategically positioned to deliver sustainable value for our stakeholders. The consolidation in Kenya will support the realisation of our aspiration to be Africa’s Payment Gateway to the World. Subsequent to the completion of the transaction, NBK 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.”

KCB Group Chief Executive Officer, Paul Russo said: “This transaction represents what we believe is a great opportunity to maximise value for our shareholders while strengthening the competitive position for the Group. The past four years have been defining for NBK as a KCB Group subsidiary and this step marks the opening of new opportunities.”

“During the period, we have made progressive investments in the Bank, and we believe that this is in the best interest of the Group and its sustainability. Our growth strategy is premised on both organic and inorganic plans, and we shall continue to seek opportunities that increase our shareholder’s value,” said Mr Russo.

All parties will be working together in the coming months to fulfil the conditions precedent relating to the proposed acquisition, which include the regulatory approvals of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Central Bank of Kenya. Access Bank will continue to provide a full range of banking services and continuity for its stakeholders including employees and customers in Kenya.

In the meantime, NBK customers will continue to access seamless services across various touchpoints including through the branch network and mobile banking platforms.

Upon conclusion, stakeholders will benefit from an enlarged franchise, with best-in-class customer service and governance structures committed to empowering the communities wherein the Bank operates. The combined entity will leverage Access Bank’s dedication to economic development by extending financial services to the unbanked, thereby deepening financial inclusion across the region.

In recent months, Access Bank has embarked on a strategic expansion drive, marked by significant acquisitions. In January, the Bank completed its acquisition of Atlas Mara Zambia, thereby becoming one of Zambia’s top five banks by revenue with prospects to be in the top three by 2027.

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