SBM of Mauritius in Talks to Acquire Kenyan Bank, Chairman Says

SBM Holdings Ltd., Mauritius’s second-biggest company by market value, is completing a deal to acquire a Kenyan bank as part of a plan to expand outside its home market, Chairman Kee Chong Li Kwong Wing said.

The lender, based in Port Louis, the capital of the Indian Ocean island nation, is also seeking a license in Seychelles, Li Kwong Wing said in a phone interview Sunday. SBM is implementing a strategic plan for the next five years with advice from McKinsey & Co., he said.

“SBM is planning to obtain a bank license in the Seychelles in the first quarter of 2016 and is finalizing negotiations for a bank acquisition in Kenya,” Li Kwong Wing said, without identifying the Kenyan lender. “Our immediate objective is to expand our footprint in the international banking business and non-banking activities like private-wealth management, bancassurance and asset management.”

SBM, which already has a presence in India and Madagascar, plans to double in assets and net income by 2020 under a plan initiated last year. The lender has total assets of 130.4 billion rupees ($3.66 billion) and is forecast to report full-year profit of 2.78 billion rupees, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Accelerating Growth

In addition to its international expansion, Li Kwong Wing said the lender expects to benefit from accelerating growth in Mauritius. The $10.8 billion economy, which relies on food and textile manufacturing to generate most of its output, is expected to grow faster in 2016 than the estimated 3.4 percent last year, he said.

“The government is speeding up approvals of major construction projects and increasing capital expenditure in road infrastructure and other projects,” Li Kwong Wing said. “Demand is likely to pick up and banks will have the opportunity to deploy their excess liquidity.”

Banks in Mauritius have excess liquidity totaling about 11 billion rupees, according to data published on the Bank of Maurtius’s website.

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