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Nigeria: Access Holdings to Acquire National Bank of Kenya Limited

Access Holdings PLC has unveiled its intention to acquire the National Bank of Kenya Limited (NBK), signaling a dedication to expansion and strategic advancement. This acquisition, representing a significant move for Access Holdings, follows the unfortunate passing of Herbert Wigwe, the former Group Managing Director/CEO of Access Bank Plc.

Following an initial announcement of the sale of NBK by Kenya Commercial Bank Group Plc, Kenya’s largest commercial bank, Access Bank Plc, the leading subsidiary of Access Holdings, is set to acquire the entire issued share capital of NBK from KCB, as disclosed on the NGX website. This strategic move aligns with Access Bank’s expansion initiative, aimed at strengthening its foothold in the Kenyan market.

Bolaji Agbede, the Acting Group CEO of Access Holdings Plc, expressed his enthusiasm for the acquisition, stating, “This proposed acquisition marks a significant step in the execution of our five-year strategic plan aimed at positioning the Bank as Africa’s Gateway to the World.

The deal with NBK, a historically strong and well-known bank in Kenya with a balance sheet over US$1.1 billion, presents a compelling opportunity to scale up our growth in the East African market.”

He further emphasized, “We remain confident that our investments towards diversifying and strengthening the Bank’s long-term earnings profile will deliver significant value for our shareholders, customers, and wider stakeholder groups.” This acquisition is a testament to Access Corporation’s continued commitment to an aggressive growth model, even in the wake of Herbert Wigwe’s demise.

In September 2023, NBK reported a third-quarter loss of approximately Ksh 3 billion ($22.5 million), with a net equity of Ksh 10.6 billion ($79.6 million) at the close of the same period.

Despite the bank’s challenges, including a retained loss of about Ksh 7.9 billion ($59.3 million), Access Holdings views this acquisition as a strategic maneuver to bolster its presence in the East African market and beyond.

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