NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenyan lender Equity Group (EQTY.NR) said on Monday it was in talks with some of Banqué Commerciale du Congo’s (BCDC) shareholders to buy a controlling stake for cash, stepping up its expansion in Africa.
Equity already has a subsidiary in DR Congo, which is one of the biggest countries on the continent by land mass and has more than 80 million people, making it appealing to ambitious lenders in regional states looking for growth.
The Kenyan bank did not identify the BCDC shareholders or the size of the proposed deal. A combination would create the country’s second largest bank with assets of more than $1 billion, said Nairobi-based analyst George Bodo.
The DR Congo market is mainly focused on serving big companies with operations there, making it necessary to have a big balance sheet to be able to compete and grow Bodo said. Rawbank is the leading commercial bank in DR Congo.
In April, Equity bolstered its African presence by announcing the purchase of shares in banks in Rwanda, Zambia, Mozambique and Tanzania, buying the assets of London-listed financial services firm Atlas Mara.
Reporting by Duncan Miriri, editing by Louise Heavens and Alexander Smith