National Bank Increases Stake in Mauritius’s AfrAsia to 17.5%

National Bank of Canada increased its stake in AfrAsia Bank Ltd. to 17.5 percent, making the Montreal-based lender the second-largest investor in the African company.

National Bank acquired an additional 8 percent after AfrAsia raised capital through a rights issue, the Mauritius-based company said Tuesday in a statement on its website.

National Bank, Canada’s sixth-largest lender, bought 9.5 percent of AfrAsia in December for C$16 million ($12.6 million) in its first African investment. In March, it agreed to buy 21 percent of Cote d’Ivoire financial group NSIA Participations for a maximum of C$116 million. National Bank is paying about C$16 million for the second AfrAsia stake, Claude Breton, a spokesman for the firm, said Wednesday in an e-mail.

The Canadian lender earmarked C$200 million last year for small investments in regional banks abroad that offer long-term growth, starting with an investment in Cambodia’s ABA Bank in September.

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