Actis exits Banque Commerciale du Rwanda18/07/12

Actis and the Government of Rwanda have confirmed the sale of Actis’s interest in Banque Commerciale du Rwanda (‘BCR’) to Kenyan regional bank, I&M Bank Limited (‘I&M’), and French and German development finance institutions, Proparco and DEG.

Rwanda’s Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Hon. John Rwangombwa heralded the sale of the country’s second largest bank as a privatisation success story for Africa.

BCR has been named ‘Best Bank in Rwanda’ by Global Finance Magazine for the last five years. The purchase of BCR by regional banking group I&M is the natural next stage in its journey to become a leading East African financial institution.

Actis acquired an 80% interest in BCR in a 2004 privatisation, with the remaining 20% interest retained by the Government of Rwanda. When Actis invested, Rwanda was a post-conflict economy; it is now an attractive investment destination with a strong financial infrastructure and a robust regulatory system.

Actis is grateful for the strong support it has received from both the Rwandan Government and the regulators throughout the term of this investment.

Speaking on the sale, Rwanda’s Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Hon. John Rwangombwa said: “The successful equity exit of Actis reflects the investment opportunities that the Rwandan Government has helped foster. The privatisation of Banque Commerciale du Rwanda in 2004 through a private equity investment was the first of its type in the Rwanda banking sector and has been highly successful. I take this opportunity to welcome the new investors I&M Bank Limited, Proparco and DEG. This new sale is a testament to the attractiveness of Rwanda as an investment destination. Rwanda is committed to creating a financial sector that is inclusive and accessible to allow Rwandans to take advantages of all its services.”

Actis’s strategy at BCR was to strengthen the management team and introduce a world-class board. Recruiting and training local Rwandan staff to create a centre of excellence within the country’s banking sector was a priority. Actis broadened BCR’s range of services with a particular focus on SMEs, mortgage finance, and innovative leasing and savings products.

Paul Fletcher, Senior Partner of Actis said: “The story of BCR is the story of Rwanda’s success. If we think back to 2003/4, the financial services sector was largely undeveloped and in need of capital; a large proportion of the population was unbanked. There has been extraordinary progress in the past eight years with the creation of a growing and competitive financial services industry at the heart of a thriving economy.”

Actis remains strongly committed to East Africa with over US$300m currently invested in the region and an intention to put at least US$200m to work over the next four years.