SBM of Mauritius Eyes Kenyan Banks, Plans Nigerian Expansion

SBM Holdings Ltd., Mauritius’s second-largest lender, plans more acquisitions in Kenya as it seeks to become one of the country’s top 10 banks within the next three years before expanding into West Africa.

The bank, which obtained a license to begin operating SBM Kenya Ltd. in May, expects to have its systems and staff in place by December, Advisor to the Board of Directors & Group Lead Executive Moses Harding said. It will then expand by establishing brokerage, micro-finance and asset management units as well as other services, he said.

“We can’t move to tier one in an organic way, so I will look at inorganic options,” Harding said in an interview Monday in the capital, Nairobi. “This is the right time to get close to if not the best value,” he said.

On a pro-rata basis, when its population is taken into account, Kenya has more banks than South Africa and Nigeria, the continent’s two largest economies. Consolidation in the industry is being spurred by a government-imposed cap on interest rates that’s squeezed the ability of smaller lenders to offer loans.

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