Egyptian Commercial International Bank buys 51% of Mayfair in Kenya


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NAIROBI, April 24 (Reuters)International Commercial Bank of Egypt (CIB) COMI.CA has acquired a 51% stake in Kenya’s Mayfair Bank, Kenya’s central bank said on Friday, the latest in a series of deals in the East African country’s banking sector.

Kenya’s competition authority said last year that CIB was looking to acquire a controlling stake in Mayfair Bank. The central bank said all necessary approvals had been granted.

Kenya’s banking sector has seen a flurry of deals over the past three years after the government capped interest rates, hurting the profits of many banks and forcing them to look for ways to preserve their profits or survive.

The lending rate cap was lifted last November, but lenders did not adjust prices up.

Mayfair, which started in August 2017, controls just 0.2% of the market and is expected to benefit from CIB’s funds, skills and banking infrastructure to help it grow, the regulator said.

CIB, one of Egypt’s leading private sector banks, has assets of $ 24.18 billion, Kenya’s central bank said. It is the first Egyptian bank to venture into the Kenyan market.

“Its entry will also strengthen trade and investment ties between Kenya and Egypt,” the central bank said.

CIB and Mayfair could not be reached immediately for comment.

Bank executives say Kenya has too many banks, with around 40 commercial lenders in a country of 47 million people, about one bank for just over one million people instead of one bank for two million inhabitants, which they consider more appropriate.

Recent industry deals include the merger of NIC Bank and CBA Group to form NCBA NCBA.NR, and the acquisition of the National Bank of Kenya by KCB Group KCB.NR.

(Reporting by Duncan Miriri and Omar Mohammed; Editing by Edmund Blair)

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