Home » Centum Investment in Sidian Bank: Transforming for Growth

Centum Investment in Sidian Bank: Transforming for Growth

Nigerian banking giant Access Bank Plc is on a roll in East Africa, acquiring 100% of Kenya’s National Bank of Kenya (NBK) from KCB Group PLC.

This move comes just four years after Access Bank first entered the Kenyan market and shows their ambition to become a regional leader.

Access Bank’s CEO, Roosevelt Ogbonna, sees Kenya as a strategic hub for their growth. Kenya’s position as a key player in East Africa’s trade corridors, along with the recent launch of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), creates a big opportunity for expansion.

Ogbonna explains, “With Kenya being a key player in the region… [with AfCFTA] these corridors will continue to expand and by deploying our best-in-class financial solutions, we are strategically positioned to deliver sustainable value for our stakeholders.”

In 2014, Centum acquired a controlling interest in Sidian Bank, then known as K-Rep Bank, with an investment totaling approximately Sh4.7 billion.

Recognizing the bank’s prolonged stagnation, the late billionaire Chris Kirubi emphasized the need for transformation, with Centum outlining ambitious plans to revitalize the institution.

This acquisition aligns with Access Bank’s larger goal of becoming Africa’s payment gateway. The fact that Kenya was chosen as the headquarters for the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) strengthens this vision even more.

PAPSS aims to make it easier to send money across African borders in local currencies, without needing to convert to dollars.

By combining NBK with their existing Kenyan business after the acquisition, Access Bank hopes to create a powerful financial force in the region.

In 2022, Centum disclosed its decision to divest its 84% ownership in Sidian Bank to Access Bank in a transaction worth Sh4.3 billion.

Following the completion of the deal, Sidian Bank was integrated into Access Bank’s subsidiary in Kenya, marking a significant consolidation in the banking sector.

Access Bank isn’t new to expansion. They’ve been busy growing their presence across Africa, with acquisitions in Zambia, Mozambique, Angola, Cameroon, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania.

Their initial entry into Kenya came in 2020 with the acquisition of Transnational Bank, followed by a majority stake in Sidian Bank in 2022.

The acquisition of NBK is expected to be finalized within the next 6-9 months. Both NBK and Access Bank Kenya will continue operating as usual to ensure a smooth transition for employees and customers.

This strategic move strengthens Access Bank’s position as a major player in the African financial landscape, especially within the dynamic East African market.