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The Privatisation Authority has rolled out the sale of Development Bank Kenya (DBK), barely a month after the Cabinet approved the transfer of the ownership of the lender to private hands.

The government on Friday invited consultants to guide the sale of the bank, setting the stage for another acquisition in the banking sector. Only last week, Nigerian top lender, Access Bank Plc signed a deal to acquire National Bank of Kenya(NBK) from KCB Group at an estimated Sh13.2 billion.

The Privatisation Authority said it had received funds from the Treasury to procure the services of a transactional advisor to help it with crafting a detailed work plan that will lead to the sale of DBK’s shares by public tender.

“The Privatisation Authority has set aside funds in its budget or has received financing from the National Treasury and Planning towards the cost of the subject consulting services,” said the Privatisation Authority in a letter of request for proposals.

Last month, the Cabinet approved the sale of DBK, setting the stage for another acquisition in the banking sector as President William Ruto’s government charges on with its privatisation programme.

Besides DBK where the government has a 89.3 percent stake, the other State-owned lender is Consolidated Bank of Kenya, where the State has a 50.2 percent shareholding.

The Cabinet noted that DBK, which had for long relied on State guarantee while operating as a development finance institution, was ready to stand on its own as a deposit-taking commercial bank.

“As part of the Administration’s plan to steer the turnaround of our State corporations and enterprises…Cabinet considered and approved the proposed privatisation of the Development Bank of Kenya (DBK),” read the Cabinet dispatch.

The government said the decision was informed by the fact that DBK had transitioned into a fully-fledged deposit-taking commercial bank regulated by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).

In the fiscal year to June 30, 2023, DBK made a net profit of Sh48.99 million, an increase from Sh28.4 million in the same period the previous year.

DBK’s total assets by the end of June last year were Sh17.9 billion from Sh16.9 billion in the previous period.

The size of the loan book was Sh9.6 billion, from Sh8.7 billion in the previous year. By the end of June 2023, DBK had a total liability of Sh14 billion, an increase from Sh13 billion in the same period in 2022.

Depending on the financial health of DBK, the government may decide to list the lender on the Nairobi Securities Exchange or look for a strategic investor.

In the last three decades, the government has been divesting from banks with Consolidated Bank also in the pipeline of entities to be privatised.

Barely two weeks ago, the government invited investors interested in buying its 43.77 percent stake in Kenya Wines Agencies Limited.

The Cabinet last month also announced that it had approved the privatisation of seven hotels, including Kisumu’s Sunset Hotel, Golf Hotel, Mount Elgon Lodge, and Kabarnet Hotel. Also, to be sold are Mombasa Beach, Ngulia, and Voi safari lodges, which are under the Kenya Safari Lodges and Hotels Limited.

—Source: NMG 

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