London-based private equity investor, Actis, plans to exit the Rwandan market by selling its shares in Rwanda Commerciale Bank (BCR), Business Times learnt.
Actis, which has investments across Africa, China, Latin America, South and South East Asia has 80 percent shares in BCR and is sought to be in talks with a yet to be revealed Kenyan bank for a possible purchase.
The remaining 20 percent are owned by the government of Rwanda.
Finance Minister, John Rwangombwa, confirmed to Business Times in a phone interview yesterday, saying that the government is still in the early stages of discussions with potential buyers.
“We are looking for a potential buyer/ lender who will have an impact on the bank and the economy but discussions are still at their early stages,” Rwangombwa said.
He, however, declined to mention whether government will sale its 20 percent in the bank.
Actis’s Head of Africa, Peter Schmid, recently told news agencies that: “A natural acquisition for one of the bigger East African banks wanting to expand their footprint.” Adding, “That’s a probable exit scenario.”
While acquiring the bank, Actis promised to position BCR as the leading commercial bank in the country.
BCR’s profit after tax increased more than two fold to Rwf2.6 billion in 2010 from Rwf0.9 billion in 2009 as its loan books expanded by Rwf4 billion.
The bank’s cost income ratio, which is the indicator of operating efficiency, is one of the best in the industry at 72 percent from above 89 percent in 2009.
After a successful bid in 2004 under the government’s policy of privatising most of its controlled investments, Actis acquired 80 percent shares in BCR with government retaining only 20 percent.
The deal was valued at $USD6 million (Rwf3.5 billion).
Actis is a leading private equity investor in emerging markets and has been investing exclusively in these markets for nearly 60 years.