KCB set to sell National Bank of Kenya (NBK), to Nigerian lender Access Bank

Kcb To Sell Nbk

KCB Group is set to sell its struggling subsidiary, National Bank of Kenya (NBK), to Nigerian lender Access Bank, as confirmed by KCB Group CEO Paul Russo. The sale will be at 1.25 times NBK’s book value, reflecting KCB’s successful turnaround strategy over the past four years.

Access Bank, which already has a presence in Kenya following its acquisition of Transnational Bank in 2019, has been actively pursuing mergers and acquisitions (M&As) across the continent. This includes acquiring Grobank in South Africa, BancABC in Botswana and Mozambique, Diamond Bank in Nigeria, and Finibanco Angola.

Russo explained that the decision to sell NBK to Access Group was made to protect the value and efforts invested in NBK. Access Bank initially sought to acquire Sidian Bank but shifted focus to NBK after negotiations for Sidian Bank fell through in early 2023.

Upon completion of the transaction, NBK will be merged with Access Bank Kenya PLC, creating a larger entity to pursue strategic objectives in the Kenyan and East African markets, according to Access Bank’s MD and CEO, Roosevelt Ogbonna.

KCB Group’s acquisition of NBK five years ago aimed to address various challenges inherited by NBK, such as significant capital constraints and non-performing loans. The decision to sell NBK comes after notifying the Central Bank of Kenya and is expected to take six to nine months to finalize, pending regulatory approvals from the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) and the COMESA Competition Commission.

The news of the deal drove KCB Group shares up in Wednesday’s trading, indicating positive market reception to the strategic move. KCB shares are traded on multiple stock exchanges, including Nairobi, Uganda, Rwanda, and Dar es Salaam.

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