SBM Holdings Ltd (SBM Group) announced last month the completion of acquisition of Fidelity Commercial Bank in Kenya through its subsidiary SBM Africa Holdings Ltd, marking its entry into continental Africa. SBM Group’s acquisition of Fidelity Commercial Bank which will operate under the legal entity SBM Bank (Kenya) Limited, will result in rebranding of all branches and ATMs to SBM Bank, appointment of a new board of directors and a capital injection of $20.6 million in its first year of operations. Welcoming this acquisition, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor Patrick Njoroge said, “The entry of SBM Group into Kenya provides a welcome impetus to our banking sector. SBM will bring its experience and expertise from Mauritius and other markets, to enhance the competitiveness and resilience of Kenya’s banking sector. Going forward, SBM is well poised to play a significant role in financing intra-Africa trade and investments, using Kenya as a launching pad into other African markets. CBK welcomes the interest of foreign banks that will contribute to the emergence of a world-class financial sector.” The chairman of the SBM Holdings Ltd, Mr. Kee Chong Li Kwong Wing, G.O.S.K, has said that SBM Group has been accessing corporate clients in Kenya through its offshore segment B business extending funded credit facilities. “Now, it is a shift from suitcase banking to direct brick-and-mortar branch banking. SBM’s entry into Africa begins from Kenya as hub for East Africa expansion followed by expansion into other regions. The strength of SBM is its ability to deploy capital and liquidity from other operating jurisdictions, and provide comfort to wholesale depositors in Kenya for placement of their surplus funds,” he said. The credit deployment in the initial stage, the chairman said, would be to large corporates and the SME segment before extension into retail and small finance products. He said SBM presence in India and Mauritius will set their global capabilities at par or better than most tier 1 banks. So, SBM Bank in Kenya being tagged as Tier 3 bank on entry, the competition with the Tier 1 banks will be in terms of product offerings and service capabilities. “We will also leverage our Non-Banking Financial Services infrastructure in extending coverage in Investment Banking, Private Wealth Advisory and Asset Management. SBM Group is a full-service provider with end to end product offerings in the Banking and Financial services sector, which stands as a major differentiator with the domestic banks. It is the start of a long journey for SBM as the long term strategy is to diversify the group revenues from domestic to international by building scale of operations in Africa and India”. SBM also announced the appointment of a new board of directors for SBM Bank (Kenya) Limited following completion of the acquisition. The new board of directors includes Mrs. Flora Mutahi, Mr. Jim McFee and Mr. Sharad Rao with Mr. Jotham Mutoka as the acting CEO ahead of the appointment of a Kenyan Managing Director to be announced at a later date. SBM Bank (Kenya) Limited will retain branches and staff members of the acquired bank and will thus have six branches in Nairobi and four in Mombasa which will soon offer its revamped suite of products and services to all existing customers. Founded in September 1973 and headquartered in Mauritius, SBM is one of the leading financial institutions in the country, with total assets of Sh437 billion as at December 2016. SBM Holdings Ltd is listed on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius, with a market capitalisation of Sh59.3 billion as at 31st January 2017, representing third largest listed companies in Mauritius. SBM Group is engaged in banking, non-banking financial services and non-financial investments and conducts financial operations across its branches and counters in Mauritius, Madagascar, India and now Kenya. It also has a representative office in Myanmar and holds a banking licence in Seychelles. SBM offers panoply of products and services that encompass deposits, lending, trade finance, cards, leasing, treasury, stock broking, custody, asset management, insurance and investment products, as well as a range of payment services. It also has multi-channel capabilities including branches, ATMs, POS, Internet, mobile and call centres. SBM Bank (Kenya) Limited intends to focus initially on the Corporate and SME segments. “We would like to offer these companies that are the engines of growth, better access to dollar lending and trade financing. We will also look at financing large infrastructure and real estate projects that are key for economic growth. Through our continued growth in Africa and Asia, we are also looking to strengthen the Africa-Asia trade corridor with our banking and financial services. Also, our presence in India, which is Kenya’s largest trading partner will allow us to strengthen the Kenya-India-Mauritius trade and commerce links,” said Mr. Jairaj Sonoo, C.S.K. chief executive – Overseas Expansion, SBM Holdings Ltd.