FirstRand CEO Nxasana Considers Banking Expansion in Kenya

FirstRand Ltd., South Africa’s second-biggest financial-services company, is considering expansion in Kenya as demand for banking services increases.

“We’ve a representative office in Kenya and we’re doing an analysis to see if we want to be there,” Sizwe Nxasana, chief executive officer of FirstRand, said yesterday in a presentation in Johannesburg. “Given how much M-Pesa has made an impact, we’re evaluating the options.”

M-Pesa is a mobile-phone money-transfer service operated by a unit of Vodafone Group Plc and Safaricom Ltd., which counts more than 15 million users in Kenya. FirstRand is seeking to restart its expansion plans in Africa after three deals to buy assets in Zambia, Ghana and Nigeria failed in as many years.

FirstRand has declined 15 percent this year, making it the worst performer on the six-member FTSE/JSE Africa Banks Index, which has dropped 12 percent. The stock fell 0.5 percent to 30.41 rand by the close of trading in Johannesburg.

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