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By Jean Paul Arouff
PORT LOUIS, May 5 (Reuters) - Mauritius’ SBM Holdings is bidding to buy a stake in Kenya’s Chase Bank, SBM’s chairman said, which will give it greater presence in the East African economy after acquiring Fidelity Bank last year.
“SBM is bidding yes. Fidelity is a very small bank. Chase is interesting for our Africa strategy,” Ki Chong Li Kwong Wing, chairman of SBM Holdings told Reuters in a text message.
The Central Bank of Kenya wants to find a strategic investor for Chase but has not specified what size stake it will sell. It said this week that 12 parties, including local and foreign banks, had expressed interest in the bank, which is not associated with JP Morgan Chase & Co.
Regulators placed the mid-sized Chase Bank under receivership in April 2016 after an unexplained loss of billions of Kenyan shillings.
Chase is in the hands of the Kenya Deposit Insurance Corporation (KDIC), a state body that protects depositors in case of a bank failure.
In November, SBM Holdings acquired Kenya’s Fidelity Bank in a deal valued at 100 shillings ($0.98) and said it would inject 1.45 billion shillings of fresh capital into it. (Reporting by Jean Paul Arouff; Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Susan Thomas)