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Kenya’s leading bank in terms of market capitalisation and customer numbers Equity Group (NSE:EQTY) has announced that it has entered into an agreement with Pan-Africa focused banking group Atlas Mara to acquire the latter’s banking operations in four African countries.


The transaction, which will be done through a share swap, will see Equity Bank acquire 62% of share of Banque Populaire du Rwanda Limited, 100% of African Banking Corporation (ABC ) in Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique.

Equity Bank said it expects to allot about 252.5 million new ordinary shares that represent about 6.27% of Equity’s issued shares equivalent to Sh 10.7 Billion.


Atlas Mara, listed on the London Stock Exchange, was founded by former Barclays boss Bob Diamond and is largely owned by Fairfax Africa Holdings which listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Bob Diamond recently stepped down as the chairman of the Atlas and was replaced by Michael Wilkerson, the boss of Fairfax Africa. However, Bob still serves as a non-executive director.


Interestingly, Atlas Mara in July 2018 appointed former Equity Bank chief of finance and innovation John Staley as its CEO. Mr Staley left Equity Bank in June 2017 after serving at the lender for 14 years. He joined the bank in 2003 having served various roles including director of operations, director of Mobile Banking and Payment Innovations.


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