After acquiring Kenya's NBK in 2019, KCB Group is selling it to Nigeria's Access Bank

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March 21, 2024
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2 min read
Access Bank building
Access Bank building; Image source: Leadership
  • Five years after acquiring a bank in Kenya, Access Bank plans to purchase KCB Group's subsidiary, National Bank of Kenya, for an undisclosed sum.
  • According to reports, Access Bank will buy out all of the company's shares in this deal, which is a full acquisition. It is contingent, nevertheless, upon approval from Kenyan and Nigerian regulatory bodies.

Before the recent news of NBK's acquisition, Access Bank had had a legally binding agreement with Kenya-based Centum to acquire 83.4% shareholding in Kenya's Sidian Bank in June 2022. However, the bank announced in January 2023 that it would not complete the Sidian acquisition. 

Access Bank acquired Transnational Bank Kenya in 2020 to increase its market share in East Africa and strengthen its ambition to become the "World's Most Respected African Bank." As of September 2023, Access Bank Nigeria's total equity was ₦1.208 trillion, making it Nigeria's third-largest bank.

For Access Bank, the NBK acquisition means scaling in the Kenyan market and furthering the bank's expansion strategy in Africa.

Bolaji Agbede, Acting Group CEO of Access Holdings Plc, commented on the acquisition, stating that it is a significant step forward in the group's five-year strategic plan. 

“We remain confident that our investments in diversifying and strengthening the bank’s long-term earnings profile will deliver significant value for our shareholders, customers, and wider stakeholder groups,” the CEO added.

KCB, one of Kenya's largest lenders, is selling NBK after acquiring the bank in 2019. However, the KCB Group Chairman, Joseph Kinyua, said in a report, “In 2019, KCB made the bold decision to acquire the National Bank of Kenya. Unfortunately, some significant legacy claims have eroded all the gains we have made in National Bank.”

According to the CEO of the KCB Group, only NBK saw a drop from 2022 to 2023 among the group's subsidiaries. “The sale of NBK to Access will allow the investments KCB has put in the business over the last four years to be preserved,” the CEO said.

In another African country, Uganda, Access Bank acquired a majority stake in Finance Trust Bank in January 2024. The deal, which involves 80% ownership of the Finance Trust Bank shares, is expected to close within the first six months of 2024, as stated at the time of the acquisition announcement.

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