GTBank eyes African market, set to acquire top Kenyan bank

Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Nigeria’s biggest lender by market value, plans to acquire a Kenyan lender as part of its expansion on the continent, according to the managing director.

“I think the place we will still like to do business or do an acquisition is Kenya,” Segun Agbaje, the lender’s chief executive said at an investor call in Lagos, without giving a time-line for the acquisition.

The Lagos-based lender already has offices in 10 countries outside Nigeria including Kenya. It wants to increase the contribution of African subsidiaries to the bank’s income to about 30% of profit-before-tax in the next three years from 15.3% in 2020.

Banks in Africa’s most populous country are expanding on the continent and diversifying outside their core operations as they seek to grow after the coronavirus pandemic and two economic contractions in four years shuttered businesses and limited lending opportunities at home.

Guaranty Trust is expecting the approval by regulators of a move to transition into a financial holding company in the second half, which will enable it start payments and asset management units, Agbaje said. It targets 10% growth in the loan book this year and pre-tax profit of 243 billion naira from 238.1 billion naira.

The stock traded unchanged at 31 naira per share as of 10.57 a.m in Lagos. It has declined 4.2% s far this year, compared with an 8.3% retreat on the Banking 10 index for the country’s biggest lenders.

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