One of Kenya’s fastest growing banks has caught the eye of two Tanzanian billionaires

The bank disclosed the purchase in its May regulatory filing of its ownership structure.

  • Tanzanian billionaires, Aunali and Sajjad Rajabali, have bought seven million shares worth $3.44m of Equity Bank.
  • The bank disclosed the purchase in its May regulatory filing of its ownership structure.
  • The duo have invested more than Sh1.5 billion ($15 million) in Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firms over the past two years.

The Rajabalis are now ranked seventh in Equity’s list of top individual investors with a 0.19 per cent stake.

The duo have invested more than Sh1.5 billion ($15 million) in Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firms over the past two years, taking significant stakes in companies such as Co-op Bank,  KenolKobil,  Jubilee Holdings  and I&M Holdings.

It is easy to see why the two Tanzanians are keen to have a piece of Equity Bank.

Equity has cemented its position as the country’s most efficient bank with an annualised return on equity (RoE) of 28.5 per cent after reporting a 21.4 per cent growth in net profit to Sh5.8 billion in the first quarter ended March.

The purchase also comes at a time the country is planning to scrap away the capping of interests law after two years of negative effect on economy, signaling a return to banks profitable days.

The lender’s overall performance of the years, anchored on its retail banking success, has continued to attract major global investors.

“The bank differentiates itself from its peers through its large retail customer base with nearly half of all bank accounts in Kenya,” London-based asset manager Blackrock Frontiers Investment Trust Plc, which holds Equity shares worth Sh1.5 billion ($15 million), says in a regulatory filing.

The bank has in recent years moved to strengthen its existing regional operations, postponing entry into new markets.

The lender last year invested an additional Sh1 billion ($10 million) in its Ugandan subsidiary, its second most profitable unit after the Kenyan banking operation.

The new capital raised the value of the company’s investment in the Uganda unit to Sh5 billion ($50m) from the previous Sh3.9 billion ($39 million).

Equity says the Ugandan operation had a pre-tax income of Sh1.1 billion ($11 million) in the year ended December, an 89 per cent increase from Sh628 million ($6.28m) the year before.

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