Kenya: Press Release: KCB Shareholders Approve New Group Holding Company, Dividend Payout
Friday, 15 May 2015
Nairobi, 15 May 2015 --- Kenya Commercial Bank Limited (KCBL) shareholders have approved the formation of KCB Group Limited, a non-operating holding company that will own the bank and all its other interests including regional subsidiaries.
 
Subject to regulatory approvals, KCBL, the current company, will transfer its banking business to a new subsidiary, KCB Bank Kenya Limited. Following the transfer of assets and liabilities, KCBL will remain as a non-operating holding company approved to operate as such by the Central Bank of Kenya, and subsequently renamed KCB Group Limited.
 
The new group holding company will be mandated to oversee KCB Bank Kenya Limited, the regional banking units in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and South Sudan and two more existing subsidiaries, the investment banking arm, KCB Capital Limited, and the bancassurance unit, KCB Insurance Agency Limited.

‘The directors of KCB consider that the reorganization and implementation of a non-operating holding company is in the best long-term interests of shareholders and of the KCB Group as a whole. We believe that this will result in operational efficiencies and better financial performance of the KCB Group,’ said KCB Group Chairman Mr. NgenyBiwott. ‘Given our size and strength, we also see the implementation of the new structure as promoting the Vision 2030 initiative towards a Nairobi international finance center, the regional hub for financial services that is expected to encourage foreign direct investment into the country and the region’, he said at the lender’s AGM held in Nairobi. During the AGM, shareholders also approved the dividend payment of KES2 per share held riding on improved earnings in the past financial year. The books close on 19 May 2015.
 
KCB announced a 12% rise in after-tax profit to KES4.36bn for the first three months of 2015 ending 31 March  2015. This was an increase compared to KES3.9bn it posted in the same period last year. The increase has been driven by increased lending and new income streams from new business lines that the bank has ventured into in the recent past.
 
KCB projects that the new structure will increase the lender’s access to debt and equity capital while enabling the equity markets to place appropriate value on the group’s business separate from the current banking operations to be undertaken by KCB Bank Kenya Limited. The reorganization—which will effectively separate the banking businesses from other incidental business entities— will however not result to any change in the ownership structure of KCB Group.
 
The changes come following new CBK guidelines that allow non-financial entities to own over 25% of the share capital of a bank in a bid to spread risks associated with subsidiaries and associated companies. The guidelines were passed under the Finance Act No.57 of 2012 to allow banks to reorganise their structures and spread risks associated with subsidiaries and associated companies. ‘The new units will be able to operate independently while being supervised by the mother company to ensure that the activities are run according to the laid down practices and move towards remarkably boosting the bank’s financial performance,’ said MrBiwott.
 
‘We expect the new structure to bring increased corporate governance of the KCB Group through an independent board structure for the Group and subsidiaries while increasing the ability of the holding company to invest in a diversified range of business,’ he said.
 
KCB has in the recent past been keen to invest in new business lines. Last month, the bank launched the KCB Insurance Agency to tap into the insurance business through the use of innovative distribution channels with a focus on growing the life insurance and pensions business whose potential has been barely exploited. In April, KCB Group rolled out its Islamic banking unit to sell the ‘KCB Sahl Banking’ proposition as it seeks to tap into the growing demand for Islamic financial products across the East African region.

The bank has also deepened its partnership with Safaricom, rolling out KCB-M-PESA.
 
KCB has also marked a new milestone launching an Integrated Report and Financial Statement, the first in the Kenyan banking scene that aims at improving the quality of information available to its shareholders as well as providers of financial capital. The report, unveiled at the AGM, seeks to promote a more cohesive and efficient approach to corporate reporting; enhance accountability and stewardship for utilization of resources while supporting integrated thinking, decision making and actions that focus on the creation of value into long term.
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