Access Bank Seals Deal with KCB Group for Acquisition of National Bank of Kenya

Nume Ekeghe and Dike Onwuamaeze

Access Bank Plc has signed a binding agreement to acquire 100 per cent shareholding in National Bank of Kenya Limited (NBK) from KCB Group Plc.

The agreement was signed yesterday, between the Access Bank Plc and the KCB Group Plc.

However, “the successful completion of the transaction would be subject to conditions that are customary for transactions of this nature, including regulatory approvals from, amongst others, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the COMESA Competition Commission (CCC) and notifications to other relevant regulators,” a statement added.

Access Bank explained that the move underscored its commitment to bolster its presence in Kenya and the broader East African region.

Commenting on the transaction, Managing Director/Chief Executive of Access Bank Plc, Mr. Roosevelt Ogbonna, was quoted to have 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, and advance financial inclusion thereby empowering many to achieve their financial dreams.”

Ogbonna said, “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.”

He added that, “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.”

Speaking in the same vein, KCB Group CEO, Mr. 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.”

The parties involved in the transaction would be working together in the coming months to fulfill the conditions precedent relating to the proposed acquisition, which included the regulatory approvals of the CBN and CBK while Access Bank would 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 would continue to access seamless services across various touch points, including through the branch network and mobile banking platforms.

“Upon conclusion, stakeholders would benefit from an enlarged franchise, with best-in-class customer service and governance structures committed to empowering the communities wherein the bank operates.

“Moreover, the combined entity would leverage Access Bank’s dedication to economic development by extending financial services to the unbanked, thereby deepening financial inclusion across the region,” it added.

Furthermore, Access Bank stated that the acquisition would build on its 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.

In recent months, Access Bank has embarked on a strategic expansion drive, marked by significant acquisitions.

In January, the Access 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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