FBC gives Standard Chartered a new name after paying US$26.7m to seal takeover

FBC Holdings is renaming the Standard Chartered business to Crown Bank, hoping to position the US$26.7 million acquisition as a premium banking offering in a competitive market.

Herbert Nkala, FBC chairman, told shareholders that the acquired bank will operate independently of the company’s existing operation.

“FBC Crown Bank will operate semi-autonomously as a subsidiary of FBC Holdings. For now, it will retain its banking license. FBC Crown Bank will focus on wholesale banking for large blue-chip corporate clients and high net worth individual clients,” Nkala said at an AGM. The existing bank, FBC Bank, will serve the consumer and SME market.

During the takeover talks, FBC had deposited US$34 million into escrow last year to prove it could complete the deal. Of that amount, US$7.3 million has since been returned to FBC. This means the total purchase price was US$26.7 million. FBC CEO Trynos Kufazvinei says the acquisition has helped boost its share of bank customers.

“We have actually increased our customer base. Our market share has increased by 2 to 3% as a result of this acquisition. So, it’s a positive move for shareholders,” Kufazvinei said.

FBC Bank was Zimbabwe’s fourth largest bank by loan book as at December 2022, the latest available figures from RBZ, accounting for 11% of loans. Standard Chartered held just 1.1% of loans in 2022, down from 3% in 2021.

As part of the deal, FBC also bought StanChart’s investment arm, which held 20% of property developer Mashonaland Holdings. FBC has no plans to sell that stake, and plans to use it to get a stronger foothold in real estate. “As you know, we acquired Africa Enterprise Network Trust (AENT) which owned 20% of Mashonaland Holdings. This is now within the group. It has buttressed our investment portfolio. Obviously, we will be looking at options to work together and also to unlock value on these investments,” says Kufazvinei.

FBC’s building society unit is working on property developments in Zvishavane, Masvingo and Hwange.

“Many banks have started building head offices. For us, we said instead of building head offices, let’s acquire a business. But we have a stand of two hectares, which we want to develop,” said Kufazvinei. This may be developed via a real estate investment trust (REIT), he explained.

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