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Money Markets

CBA raises Sh1.5bn for expansion into Uganda market

CBA’s group executive Isaac Awuondo. The bank, which already has a presence in Tanzania, said that it planned to enter the Ugandan market later this year by starting a new operation. Photo/File
CBA’s group executive Isaac Awuondo. The bank, which already has a presence in Tanzania, said that it planned to enter the Ugandan market later this year by starting a new operation. Photo/File 

Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) has raised Sh1.5 billion from its shareholders through a private placement that will be used to finance the lender’s expansion into the region.

The bank, which already has a presence in Tanzania, said that it planned to enter the Ugandan market later this year by starting a new operation.

The expansion plans have also seen the bank restructure its top management to help it manage the growth as it eyes Rwanda and Burundi next year.

“We are expanding to Uganda by end of this year upon license approval. Following these expansion plans we are realigning our management structure,” said Isaac Awuondo, the group chief executive.

He said the bank, which is one of Kenya’s largest non-listed lenders, has about 30 shareholders.

Directors of the bank, some of whom are also believed to be shareholders include deputy chairman Muhoho Kenyatta, executive director Mike Bristow, who retires at the end of this month, Mr Awuondo and a Mr Stuart Armitage.

Mr Awuondo has taken the position of group chief executive from his previous role of managing director for the Kenyan unit, which will be taken by Jeremy Ngunze who previously was the group head of business management.

Other newly created positions include that of group chief operating officer held by Geoffrey Githinji who joined from Standard Chartered and a group chief financial officer, James Mugo who joined from East Africa Breweries, where he was head of strategy and new business ventures.

Mike Bristow’s position will be dropped in the restructuring.

The bank will accommodate the Kenyan CEO, Mr Ngunze, in its board of directors as it goes through the process of re-electing a new chairman following the death of former holder of the position Mr Mirabeau Da Gama Rose.

CBA has been upgrading its core banking system to support cross border transactions and future expansion plans.

“We are targeting to be in over ten African countries in the next five years,” said Mr Awuondo.

Other markets targeted by the bank besides Rwanda and Uganda include South Sudan, Mozambique, DRC and Ethiopia.

The bank will be looking for corporate clients in the Uganda market and is hopeful to bag its clients who have moved into the regional markets.

CBA is ranked eighth in the Kenyan market in terms of asset base.

Last year it posted a net profit of Sh1.6 billion, but is yet to release its half year results.

The lender has 22 branches in Kenya and seven in Tanzania. It has entered into an agency banking agreement with Post bank which has over 100 branches in the country.

Under agency banking, a third party is allowed to offer limited services of the principal bank helping to spread the bank’s presence.

By moving to Uganda CBA will join Kenyan banks; Equity, KCB, DTB, Fina and Imperial Bank.

gngigi@ke.nationmedia.com

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