VENTURES AFRICA – FirstRand, one of the largest financial institutions in South Africa, has revealed plans to buy a mid-sized Kenyan bank in order to boost its presence in the largest economy in the East Africa – one of the fastest-growing regions on the continent.
FirstRand Africa’s CE, Jabu Khethe said yesterday that the presence 43 banks in the East African region makes the area is very competitive. Thus, it is hard for an entrant to use a “greenfields model”.
Yesterday, FirstRand’s investment banking unit officially launched its Kenyan representative office, which was established last year and is considering deals worth more than $650 million
The bank, which plans to buy a Kenyan bank when the opportunity arises, opened a unit which offers project, infrastructure and resource finance, debt financing, structured trade and commodity finance, and currency and commodity fixed-income services.
Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), announced the launch of investment banking unit RMB Namibia — a subsidiary of Namibian Stock Exchange-listed FNB Namibia Holdings- six months ago as part of its expansion strategy in Africa.
RMB already has a representative office in Nigeria, where JSE-listed FirstRand, its parent company is expected to finalise its entry strategy shortly, according to CEO Sizwe Nxasana.
The Kenyan office would also focus on investment and trade deals involving East African firms trading with India, where FirstRand launched its first retail banking unit in Mumbai last month.
Mr Nxasana said then FirstRand wanted to capture the growing trade and investment flows in the Indian and East African corridor, much in the same way it was involved with Indian and South African companies.
RMB’s chief representative officer in Kenya, Lloyd Muposhi said the bank’s physical presence in Nairobi would make it closer to the needs of its Kenyan partners. “We are keen to feel their pulse and work out tailor-made solutions”, Muposhi added.