Equity Bank Wednesday announced the completion of its acquisition of ProCredit Bank of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Equity Group had earlier this year entered into an agreement with ProCredit Holding to acquire 79 per cent of the issued share capital of ProCredit Bank Congo S.A an SME focused bank in the DRC.
Equity Group CEO James Mwangi said at an investor briefing in Nairobi that the transaction was completed following regulatory approval in Kenya and DR Congo.
“We are excited about our entry into Sub-Saharan Africa’s third most populous country through the investment in a fast growing, well established and highly regarded bank,” he said.
Mr Phillip Sigwart, formerly chairman of ProCredit’s board of directors and who now assumes the position of chief executive of the group’s new subsidiary in DRC, exuded optimism about completion of the merger.
“This exciting news will pave way for ProCredit to leverage on the expertise of Equity Group in enhancing financial inclusion in the largely unbanked DRC population,” Sigwart said.
The bank is the 7th largest bank by assets in the DRC market with total assets exceeding Sh21 billion (US$ 200million), net assets of Sh2.6 billion (US$ 25 million) and a customer base of over 170,000.
ProCredit has amongst its shareholders the German Development Bank KfW (KfW) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) who currently hold 12 per cent and 9 per cent of the bank’s issued share capital respectively.
Mr Mwangi said the acquisition of ProCredit provides Equity Group with a great platform to further the group’s growth objectives while extending its mission of financial inclusion across Africa.
“Already we are set to sign a deal with the Government of DRC to process the salaries of all civil servants and the possibilities look exciting,” he said, adding that the Group would launch an aggressive drive to develop the largely underserved retail market segment in DRC while drawing on Equity’s experience in Agency and other technology led innovative banking services.
Up to 96 per cent of the citizens are unbanked in the vast and resource rich DRC with a population of over 85 million population.
This story was first published on Nation Business