Kenyan bank eyes representative office in China

Xinhua News Agency | Aug 15, 2019 at 9:53 AM

NAIROBI, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) group plans to apply to Chinese authorities to open a representative office by end of October, an official said on Thursday.

Lawrence Kimathi, chief finance officer KCB Group, told Xinhua in Nairobi that the office, which will be based in Beijing, will be one of the first by an east African bank in China.

"The representative office in China will have a trade focus and act as a liaison for entities trading between Kenya and China," Kimathi said.

The proposed Beijing office will not undertake any banking activities but will seek to provide a platform for Chinese investors who want to establish presence in Kenya, he said.

According to the KCB Group, in the first six months of this year, its after-tax profit rose 5 percent to reach 12.7 billion shillings (about 122 million U.S. dollars).

In addition to Kenya, the KCB Group now has presence in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and Ethiopia.

Kimathi said the macroeconomic indicators in most of the seven countries are showing improvement.

"This has contributed to our international bank subsidiaries' continued good performance, with all but one of the businesses delivering high double-digit earnings growth," he said. "This growth has been driven by balance sheet momentum with loans and advances registering a 23 percent growth."

KCB Group chairman Andrew Kairu said the bank is seeking to expand into additional countries in east and central Africa.

"Previously our expansion outside of Kenya was through establishing new operations, but going forward, we will expand our regional presence through mergers and acquisitions of existing banks," Kairu said.