Sri Lanka firm shopping for micro-lenders in Kenya plan

LOLC Holdings Plc, Sri Lanka’s second-largest publicly traded company by revenue, says it is mulling expanding operations into Kenya as it seeks to tap the rising demand for microcredit.

Deputy Chairman Ishara Nanayakkara said the firm, which also runs two micro-lenders in Cambodia, plans to sell its stake in one of the units in Cambodia and use the proceeds to fund the acquisition of unnamed micro-financiers in Kenya.

He added the firm, which gets about 84 percent of its pretax income from overseas, also plans to expand into Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

“What we are trying to create is the world’s largest microfinance platform,” Mr Nanayakkara was quoted saying by Bloomberg.

The LOLC disclosure marks the latest declaration of interest by a foreign lender to enter Kenya’s 40-plus bank market.

Kenya has witnessed renewed interest by global banks, since the Central Bank of Kenya lifted a licensing moratorium in March 2017.

They include America’s largest bank JPMorgan Chase & Co, which said in January last year it was mulling a Kenya entry.

One of Russia’s largest privately-owned banks, Promsvyazbank, also announced in August 2017 it would seek a piece of the local pie.

Source: Business Daily Newspaper.

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