Kingdom spreads wings

Conrad Dube

KINGDOM Bank Africa Ltd (KBAL) says negotiations for offshore capital raising have reached an advanced stage while six representative offices will be opened before the end of

the year.

The bank says negotiations in Botswana to raise US$3 million to finance the global expansion programme which includes the opening of representative offices in Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia, Dallas, Atlanta and London are at an advanced stage.

KBAL, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Zimbabwe-based Kingdom Financial Holdings Ltd (KFHL), is the sole promoter and distributor of American Express International Dollar Cards in Africa and the United Kingdom.

“We have received approval from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to set up representative offices in Kenya, South Africa and London,” KFHL chief operating officer Frank Kufa told businessdigest.

Although Kufa said he was not aware of plans to open offices in Dallas, Atlanta, and Nigeria, reliable sources say plans to open such offices were at an advanced stage.

KBAL sources say American Express branded Foreign Exchange Bureaus had been selected as they provided a cheaper way of entering the market than banking.

KBAL officials say they will take advantage of the newly-established partnership with eTranzact Zimbabwe.

eTranzact is an online payment system that allows account holders to pay for goods and services purchased from participating merchants.

KBAL already has investments in First Discount House of Malawi and an investment bank in Botswana apart from the Zimbabwean operations.

In Zambia, according to the officials, the group has already received authority from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and Bank of Zambia to exit from Investrust Merchant Bank of Zambia in which it had a 25% stake in exchange for a wholly-owned commercial banking licence.

The bank said it would invest proceeds from the disinvestment to finance the Zambia operations.

An advance party is already in Kenya setting up the representative office while ground work has been concluded in the other countries earmarked, the sources say.

In First Discount House Malawi, Kingdom has a management contract which officials said had grown in stature, controlling almost 50% market share in fixed income securities trading. The group said it hoped to secure a controlling stake and was currently exploring the possibility of listing on the Malawi stock exchange before the end of the year. Interest in the discount house has been buoyed by above-market performance by the Malawi concern.

The banking group said it would continue to build capacity by partnering other experienced players in the financial services sector but would seek to be a dominant partner playing a strategic role in management contracts in all its expansion projects.