HomeBusiness DigestKingdom Bank rules out merger

Kingdom Bank rules out merger

Shakeman Mugari

KINGDOM Bank says it has no plans to merge with anyone despite market speculation and pressure from the central bank for some indigenous banks to amalgamate to avoid collapse.

Kingdom group chief executive officer Frank Kufa this week said the bank was solid and would not be force-marched into a marriage.

“We are comfortable at the moment. We are not under pressure to go into a merger deal,” Kufa said.

His statement comes on the back of widespread market speculation that the bank was in talks with several financial entities with a view to merge. There was also market talk that Kingdom was negotiating with Imara Stockbrokers last week.

Two weeks ago there were also reports of a looming merger between Kingdom, African Banking Corporation and Renaissance Bank.

However, Kufa said the bank would only merge if there was clear value addition. He said the speculations were fuelled by the current commotion in the banking sector.

“It could be that the market is getting excited over some small issues. If two executives from two banks are seen together, the market starts speculating that they are discussing a possible deal,” Kufa said.

Kufa believes two informal lunch meetings he had with a commercial bank executive and a stockbroker could have sparked the speculation. “But those were just informal meetings and mergers were not on the agenda,” he said.

Kingdom is one of the few commercial banks that have been adjudged to be stable by the central bank.

Commenting on regional initiatives, Kufa said the group’s performance was satisfactory. He said the discount house in Malawi had performed “well above expectations” while the Botswana project was “taking shape”.

“We are still waiting for approval in Zambia, otherwise the other regional ventures are performing well,” said Kufa.

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