Nigeria: Access Bank Acquires National Bank of Kenya from KCB Group.

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On Wednesday, Access Bank and KCB Group signed a binding agreement to acquire 100 percent shareholding in National Bank of Kenya Limited (NBK) from KCB.

The successful finalization of the transaction hinges on meeting standard conditions typical for such deals, which include securing regulatory approvals from bodies such as the Central Bank of Kenya, the Central Bank of Nigeria, and the COMESA Competition Commission, and making necessary notifications to other pertinent regulatory authorities.

For Access Bank, this acquisition underscores its dedication to enhancing its footprint in Kenya and the broader East African region. Additionally, it builds on the bank’s expanding operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and its planned acquisitions of a majority stake in Uganda’s Finance Trust Bank Limited, a controlling interest in African Banking Corporation Limited (BancABC Tanzania), and the Consumer, Private, and Business Banking operations of Standard Chartered Bank in Tanzania.

In recent months, Access Bank has pursued strategic expansion through significant acquisitions. In January, the bank completed its acquisition of Atlas Mara Zambia, positioning it as one of Zambia’s top five banks by revenue, with aspirations to be among the top three by 2027.

Roosevelt Ogbonna, Managing Director/Chief Executive of Access Bank, commented on the transaction, stating, “The transaction represents a significant milestone for the Bank as it advances us towards the achievement of our strategic plan spanning five years, focusing on expanding our presence in the Kenyan market.    We are establishing a robust and sustainable franchise to support economic prosperity, promote African trade, enhance financial inclusion, and empower individuals to realize their financial goals.”

Ogbonna continued, “Trade flows in East Africa revolve around key trade corridors, with Kenya playing a pivotal role in the region. With the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, these corridors will continue to expand, and by offering our best-in-class financial solutions, we are strategically positioned to deliver sustainable value for our stakeholders. The consolidation in Kenya will help us achieve our vision of becoming Africa’s premier Payment Gateway to the World.   Following the completion of the transaction, NBK will be amalgamated with Access Bank Kenya Plc, creating an enlarged franchise to pursue our strategic objectives in the Kenyan and East African markets.”

Paul Russo, CEO of KCB Group, expressed his views on the transaction,  “This transaction presents a great opportunity to maximize value for our shareholders while strengthening the Group’s competitive position. The past four years have been transformative for NBK as a subsidiary of KCB Group, and this step marks the beginning of new opportunities.”

Russo continued, “Over this period, we have made significant investments in the Bank, and we are confident that this decision serves the best interests of the Group and advances its long-term sustainability.” “Our growth strategy is based on both organic and inorganic plans, and we will continue to seek opportunities that enhance shareholder value.”

All parties involved will work together in the coming months to fulfil the conditions precedent related to the proposed acquisition, including obtaining regulatory approvals from the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Central Bank of Kenya.

Access Bank will ensure the continuity of full banking services for its stakeholders, including employees and customers in Kenya. NBK customers will continue to access seamless services through various touchpoints, including branch networks and mobile banking platforms. Upon completion, stakeholders will benefit from an enlarged franchise with top-notch customer service and governance structures committed to empowering the communities where the Bank operates. The combined entity will leverage Access Bank’s commitment to economic development by extending financial services to the unbanked, thereby enhancing financial inclusion across the region.

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