NAIROBI, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) — Kenya’s Equity Bank will conclude the purchase of four African banks in December, an official said on Tuesday.
Equity Group CEO James Mwangi told an investor forum in Nairobi that it has almost finalized talks with Atlas Mara to buy the controlling equity stakes in four banks operating in Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique via a share swap.
"The deal is part of our broad strategy to enhance our presence in the African continent where the financial services sector has many investment opportunities," Mwangi said when the bank announced the financial results for the third quarter of 2019.
Equity Bank currently operates in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo and recently opened a commercial representative office in Ethiopia.
Mwangi said that Ethiopia is currently the largest country in Africa that is yet to allow foreign banks to operate without restrictions.
"We are optimistic that once Ethiopia fully liberalizes its financial sector, we will become a market leader due to our innovative approach in developing digital products that meet customer needs," he added.
The lender said that it will deploy an acquisition and merger business model to expand its footprint on the continent.
"So far our experience indicates that purchasing of existing banks is the most efficient way to enter into new markets," Mwangi said.
According to Equity Bank’s financial results, the institution made a profit before tax of 24.78 billion shillings (242 million U.S. dollars) for the first nine months of 2019 compared to 219 million dollars in a similar period in 2018.
The profit after tax jumped from 154 million dollars between January and September in 2018 compared to 171 million dollars for a similar period in 2019.