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FirstRand considers expansion into Kenya

Renee Bonorchis

The financial services provider hopes to restart its expansion plans into the African continent and says this time Kenya could be the place to begin.

FirstRand chief executive, Sizwe Nxasana, says a representative office in Kenya is doing analysis on whether the financial services provider should expand into the country.

FirstRand, South Africa's second-biggest financial-services company, is considering expansion in Kenya as demand for banking services increases.

"We've a representative office in Kenya and we're doing an analysis to see if we want to be there," Sizwe Nxasana, chief executive of FirstRand, said on Tuesday in a presentation in Johannesburg. "Given how much M-Pesa has made an impact, we're evaluating the options." 

M-Pesa is a mobile-phone money-transfer service operated by a unit of Vodafone Group and Safaricom, which counts more than 15-million users in Kenya.

FirstRand is seeking to restart its expansion plans in Africa after three deals to buy assets in Zambia, Ghana and Nigeria failed in as many years.

FirstRand has declined 15% this year, making it the worst performer on the six-member FTSE/JSE Africa Banks Index, which has dropped 12%. The stock fell 0.5% to R30.41 by the close of trading in Johannesburg. – Bloomberg

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