Mauritian lender SBM drops bid to buy Chase Bank Kenya

The quality of Chase Bank’s books is now a crucial make or break factor as the Central Bank of Kenya tries to play matchmaker between a buyer and the lender’s shareholders.

Weekend Business has learned that some of the bidders have opted to withdraw their bids, while some investors are holding back over the Small and Medium Enterprise bank.

SBM Holdings of Mauritius, which recently concluded the acquisition of Fidelity Commercial Bank, has withdrawn its bid for Chase Bank. “We looked at it and did not see the immediate value,” Moses Harding, advisor to the Board of Directors SBM Holdings, said.

SBM Holdings is among other investors such as Societe Generale of France, KCB Group, I&M Bank, Stanbic Bank and South Africa’s First Rand that recently made a bid to buy Chase Bank and its subsidiary, Rafiki Microfinance Bank.

The Port Louis headquartered bank has, however, said it had evaluated its position in Kenya and decided to withdraw the bid, opting to instead focus on growing Fidelity, which it has rebranded to SBM Kenya.

Mr Harding said while SBM was looking to grow both organically and through acquisitions in Kenya, it would in the initial period focus on building systems in the Kenyan operation.

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