KENYA – Commercial International Bank (CIB), Egypt’s largest private lender, has received regulatory nod to acquire a controlling stake in Mayfair Bank, deepening acquisitions in the local banking sector. 

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) announced that it had given the greenlight to CIB to acquire a 51 percent stake in the tier III lender effective May 1, saying the deal will diversify and add resilience to Kenyan banking sector. 

“The acquisition of a majority stake in Mayfair will anchor CIB’s expansion into the East African region. Its entry will also strengthen the trade and investment ties between Kenya and Egypt,” CBK said in statement. 

The regulator added that the Egyptian lender will provide Mayfair with requisite skills, resources and infrastructure to scale up its business whose target has been high net worth individuals and corporates. 

CBK’s approval follows that of National Treasury and Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK), paving way for the Egyptian bank to use the three-year-old Kenyan lender as the launchpad for a piece of the East African banking market. 

The transaction now deepens mergers and acquisitions in Kenya’s banking sector that is controlled by about eight large banks. 

Other banks that have been acquired in the last seven years include Fina Bank, Giro Commercial, Oriental Commercial, Fidelity, Chase Bank, Imperial Bank, National Bank of Kenya and Transnational. 

Mayfair is Kenya’s fourth-smallest lender with a market size index of 0.17 percent as at February, according to CBK data. 

The bank was licensed in June 2017 and its loss rose 37 percent last year to KSh365.9 million (US$3.42m), making it one of the few lenders to post losses in Kenya’s banking market of 43 banks. 

The acquirer, CIB, has been in operation since August 1975 and is currently the leading private bank in Egypt with an asset base of Sh2.45 trillion (US$24.18 billion). 

It is listed on the Egyptian Stock Exchange, London Stock Exchange and trades over the counter on the New York Stock Exchange. CIB also has a representative office in Ethiopia.