- Plans to enter DRC and Ethiopia
- It is awaiting regulatory approvals for planned twin acquisitions in Tanzania.
KCB Group PLC plans to complete the merger with Banque Populaire du Rwanda Plc (BPR) in December and rebrand by January following the acquisition in August.
In an exclusive interview with the Star, KCB Group Chief Finance Officer Lawrence Kimanthi termed the acquisition as strategic, adding that it contributed Sh45 billion to the Group's balance sheet now at Sh1.12 trillion.
"We are in the process of integrating BPR with KCB infrastructure and the full rebranding process is expected to commence in January,'' Kimanthi said.
He said the successful acquisition has given the bank a stronger edge in deepening its regional expansion strategy.
BPR is a strong retail and SME bank with the largest branch network in the sector and a long history spanning over 45 years in Rwanda. After rebranding, KCB Rwanda will be the second-largest bank in the country.
Kimanthi said after East Africa, the lender focus will be in the Central and Horn of Africa market, with interests in DRC and Ethiopia.
"We are closely monitoring market liberalisation in Ethiopia. We hope that the financial sector will be next after telecommunication. Plans are also underway to enter DRC. We will let you know when that time comes,'' Kimanthi said.
He said they are waiting for regulatory approvals for planned twin acquisitions in Tanzania.
KCB Group intends to acquire 100 per cent shareholding of African Banking Corporation Tanzania Limited (BancABC) from ABC Holdings Limited (96.6 per cent) and Tanzania Development Finance Company Limited (3.4per cent).
“These acquisitions will reinforce the Group’s leadership position and give us a stronger edge to play a bigger role in driving the financial inclusion agenda in the East African region,'' Kimanthi said.
On Wednesday, the lender announced a 131 per cent increase in net earnings for the nine months to September of Sh25.2 billion compared to Sh 10.9 billion a year ago.
It attributed the improved income growth to an increase in earning assets and high non-interest income.
During the period, the risk cost improved to 200 basis points driven by reduced provisions in corporate and digital loans while the ratio of non-performing loans decreased from 15.1 per cent to 13.7per cent.
Provisions were 53 per cent lower to the end of the third quarter at Sh9.3 Billion from Sh20 billion over a similar period last year.
However, the stock of NPL rose marginally to Sh98.1 billion from Sh97 billion posted in the same period last year, mainly from KCB Bank Kenya and partially offset by a reduction in National Bank of Kenya, KCB Rwanda and KCB Bank Tanzania stock.