Pakistan Billionaire Plots Bank Deals From Africa to Asia

Billionaire Mian Muhammad Mansha’s MCB Bank Ltd. is working on deals from Afghanistan to Tanzania as Pakistan’s second-biggest lender seeks overseas expansion.

MCB, as the bank is known, is close to acquiring Kabul Bank and is in talks to buy a Tanzanian bank, Mansha, who is the lender’s chairman, said in an interview in Dubai on July 2. The bank is interested in a presence in Iran if a nuclear deal is reached with world powers and also plans branches in India, he said. He declined to name the acquisition target in Africa.

“We want to get into Tanzania as it’s a good market and in Africa if you get into one country, you can open branches in any other country,” he said. “If the sanctions are lifted, Iran is a very, very big prospect for us.”

Africa is attracting investor interest as growth outstrips that of many developed countries. Bob Diamond and Ugandan entrepreneur Ashish Thakkar set up Atlas Mara Ltd. to acquire African financial service companies in 2013 and David Bonderman’s TPG Capital is also looking at deals in African health care, consumer and financial services.

MCB plans to use Tanzania as a hub to expand into other African countries and will offer commercial and retail banking across the continent, Mansha said. The bank that MCB is looking to acquire is a small, privately owned one, he said.

MCB doesn’t have any plans to raise money from the debt markets as it has a surplus of funds it is trying to deploy, he said. The bank’s capital adequacy ratio was about 20 percent at the end of 2014, compared with 13.7 percent for JP Morgan Chase & Co and 17.2 percent for Deutsche Bank AG, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

India is a key part of MCB’s expansion plans and the lender is awaiting final regulatory approvals, Mansha said.

“Our banking license is pending,” said Mansha. “They have more or less done their scrutiny in India and now it’s a little bit political whether they will give us the permission for Mumbai and Amritsar cities.”

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