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BII Exits I&M Group to AfricInvest

Staff writer
June 11, 2024, 2:57 p.m.
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Word count: 562

British International Investment (BII), the UK’s development finance institution and impact investor, has sold its 10.1% stake in I&M Group, the Eastern African banking group, to AfricInvest, a Pan-African Asset Management platform. 

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British International Investment (BII), the UK’s development finance institution and impact investor, has sold its 10.1% stake in I&M Group, the Eastern African banking group, to AfricInvest, a Pan-African Asset Management platform. 

The acquisition was made through East Africa Growth Holding, a special purpose vehicle entirely controlled and formed by AfricInvest.

I&M Group is a leading banking group in Eastern Africa with presence in Kenya, Mauritius, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda. It offers financial services to individuals, Micro, Small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), and corporates across the region. 

It is listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange with the Rwandan subsidiary I&M Bank Rwanda listed on the Rwanda Stock Exchange.

BII made its investment in I&M in 2016. The banking group has recorded significant commercial growth since then, having almost tripled its loan book from 135 KESbn to 310 KESbn and its customer base from 100k to over 500k. 

This growth amongst others resulted in the bank reaching Tier 1 status in the Kenya banking industry in 2019. It has also been a pioneer for digital financial services in the region. 

Maximilian Biswanger, Investment Director at BII, said: “Having been a trusted equity partner to I&M for over seven years, today’s announcement represents a great outcome to BII’s engagement, as we exit to a like-minded partner with a focus on commercial sustainability and development impact.” 

“Since our original investment, I&M Group PLC has expanded its role as a true champion to the region’s business community and its aspiring personal banking clients, constituting a major driver for sustainable economic development in the region,” he said. 

AfricInvest has been committed to the financial services industry for over three decades, which has seen a rapid pace of innovation and disruption. Leveraging I&M's strong digital infrastructure and its innovative drive to cater to evolving customer needs, AfricInvest is uniquely equipped to collaborate and support the group in its expansion in the region. 

Having previously acquired a 24.76% share in I&M Bank Rwanda in 2019, AfricInvest aims to further contribute to a resilient and impactful financial services industry in East Africa through this investment. 

Julius Tichelaar, Senior Partner at AfricInvest, said: “I&M Group has established a very strong franchise in East Africa and the Indian Ocean over the past five decades, with an excellent reputation, the highest integrity and governance standards, and a track record with quality and consistency in performance and earnings. AfricInvest is extremely proud and honoured to be extending its partnership with I&M Group beyond AfricInvest’s investment in I&M Bank Rwanda.”

Sarit Raja-Shah, I&M Group Executive Director, added “It is notable that when BII invested in the company, we had just embarked on our iMara Strategy which was to be implemented in three cycles. Now, as we usher in Africinvest we have just initiated the third iteration of that strategy which has sustainability at its centre and pays respect to the economic, social and climatic state of our planet”. 

 “The years since 2016 saw us bolster our position as a leading financial services conglomerate in Eastern Africa with BII’s commercial and technical support and we are positive that Africinvest’s investment will provide the Group the support to build on the progress we made with their predecessor. Our new shareholder’s demonstrated focus on Sub-Saharan Africa inspires confidence that we will be able to continue the growth momentum and enhance financial inclusion in the markets where we operate”.

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