Equity Bank sells big stake to South African firm

CEO James Mwangi says transaction, which is currently the largest of its kind in Sub Saharan Africa, brings diversification to Equity’s capital base

South African firm, Arise, has acquired a 12% stake in Equity Group Holdings Limited, the parent company of Equity Bank, making it the single largest shareholder in the Nairobi Securities Exchange- listed company.

The deal is estimated to be worth Ksh17.6 billion based on Equity Group Holdings’s Ksh147 billion market valuation. Group CEO and Managing Director Equity Group Holdings, Dr James Mwangi, welcomed the collaboration with Arise, saying their vision is to champion the socio-economic prosperity of the people of Africa.

“We have endeavored to achieve this by being an innovative and inclusive provider of financial solutions,” said Dr Mwangi.

“We are excited by the expanded opportunities this development presents, to combine our market leading position with Arise, who bring along their substantial resources as well as expertise, which we believe will be invaluable in accelerating the growth of our business.”

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The transaction, described by Equity CEO as the largest of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa brings diversification to Equity’s capital base.

According to Arise CEO, Deepak Malik, this acquisition speaks directly to the core mandate of Arise, which is to invest in sustainable Financial Service Providers (FSPs) in Sub Saharan Africa to boost economic growth and job creation.

“Arise aims to strengthen and develop effective, inclusive financial systems through collaborative long term partnerships with leading institutions such as the Equity Group,” said Malik.

“The financial services industry plays a crucial role in facilitating infrastructural and industrial development at national and regional levels. A broader, deeper financial sector facilitates the growth and prosperity of Africa’s businesses, from small-scale entrepreneurs to large corporations and promotes financial inclusion”, he added.

Related: Equity Bank scoops 19 Think Business banking awards

“Having pioneered agency banking on the continent the Equity Group has an established track record, characterised by high growth and a solid financial performance and we are pleased to partner with them to advance the local banking sector,” Malik said.

Malik concluded by saying that with the support of Arise, Equity Group Holdings and Equity Bank are well-positioned to deliver future growth on the continent.

Arise is owned by three key shareholders, namely Norfund, FMO and Rabobank.  It boasts operations in six East African nations with a client base in excess of 11.7 million and has the largest number of deposit customers in Africa.

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