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MyBucks, OIBM merger decision expected Oct

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The Comesa Competition Commission is this October expected to make a decision on whether or not to authorise the merger between MyBucks and Opportunity International, when it concludes investigations into the implications the transaction will bring on trade and competition in the countries where the two companies are operational.

Opportunity International sold off its six African banks including those in Malawi, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania to MyBucks Group in a strategic partnership that will see the two collaborating to drive financial inclusion in Africa.

The agreement is based on a share purchase arrangement and means MyBucks group will now become the majority shareholder in Opportunity International, the parent company of Opportunity International Bank Malawi (OIBM).

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Head of Mergers and Acquisitions at the Comesa Competition Commission, Willard Mwemba, confirmed that the regional body received a notification of the transaction and that investigations are underway to assess the impact of the merger on trade.

Mwemba said while most mergers are good for consumers and economic activities, some firms may acquire their competitors to eliminate competition on the market and obtain market power, hence the need for the commission to asses mergers before approving them.

If approved, Opportunity International will become the minority shareholder in MyBucks Group retaining one board seat at the parent level and one on the board of each bank.

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When announcing the partnership in 2015, MyBucks and Opportunity said the transaction is geared at making banking easier, convenient and cheaper for people on the African continent through the use of cutting edge digital and mobile banking technology.

MyBucks intends to recapitalise the Malawi bank immediately after receiving regulatory approval from the Reserve Bank of Malawi.

As part of the agreement, Opportunity International will open transformation centres around Africa to deliver outreach services it previously offered through banks, including business and financial training, social performance management, education services, health counselling, agriculture training and other transformative and extension services, Chief of Banking Operations for Opportunity International, Frazer Hume, earlier said.

Opportunity International is a microfinance organisation that invests philanthropic and social impact capital to spark and scale innovative solutions to global poverty. Founded in 1971, the organisation has provided more than US$9 billion in loans to help clients launch and expand businesses, provide for their children and create jobs in their communities.

MyBucks is a leading fintech company that delivers financial services through technology and incorporates brands like GetBucks, GetSure and GetBanked. The partnership will be the first in which a fintech company acquires banks to bridge the gap between the virtual and traditional worlds of banking to enable faster, more efficient and less expensive access to financial services.

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