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Centum to Sell Sidian to Local Investors After Access Bank Deal Collapses

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Centum Investments plans to offload its majority stake in Sidian Bank to local investors after calling off an offer to sell to Nigerian lender Access Bank.

“The deal fell through after Access Bank kept asking for an extension of the transfer of shares exercise. Centum has now decided to withdraw its offer and instead sell its stake to local investors,” Kenyan paper Nation reported.

Centum had in June 2022 announced a binding agreement to sell an 83.4 per cent stake in Sidian to the Nigerian lender, two years after it entered the Kenyan market with the buyout of Transnational Bank.

Access Bank acquired a 99.98 per cent stake in Transnational Bank in 2020 in a deal valued at Sh1.56 billion ($12.59 million).

Access, which has assets of more than $25.5 billion, focuses on corporate retail banking and had hoped to boost the growth of Sidian, which would have been merged with Transnational Bank which was renamed Access Kenya.

Sidian which started as a non-governmental organisation before converting to a micro-financier in 1989 and later to a bank in 1999, mainly lends to small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

The Nigerian lender, which has been on an acquisition spree in Africa, has closed several buyout deals in Africa recently, including the acquisition of South Africa’s Grobank and loss-making Cavmont Bank from the Zambian arm of Namibian financial services group Capricorn.

A successful acquisition of Sidian by Access would have marked Centum’s exit from Kenya’s lucrative financial services market after buying the majority stake in then K-Rep Bank in 2014.

Sidian Bank posted a profit after tax of Sh390.22 million in the nine months to September last year, a growth of 5.6 per cent from the Sh369.46 million it earned in the same period in 2021.

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