Prime Bank raises Sh1bn for SME lending

Tuesday February 2 2016

A Prime Bank branch: Most of the bank’s earnings came from interest on loans and advances to customers, as well from investment in government securities. Photo/FILE

(From left) Peter Kabi senior manager accounts at Prime Bank, Edward Burbidge the CEO of Burbidge Capital, Prime Bank MD Bharat Jani, Paras Shah the finance lawyer at Coulson Harney and Vijay Kantaria the head of business development at Prime Bank during the signing of the private placement AT Burbidge Capital offices in Westlands. PHOTO | LILIAN OCHIENG 

By LILIAN OCHIENG'
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Prime Bank has raised Sh1 billion ($10 million) through private placement to help it expand its loan book for lending to Small and Medium Enterprises in Kenya.

The bank’s main customers are large corporates in varied sectors such as manufacturing and tourism sectors. It however plans to drive up its sales by tapping into the wider SME market who are considered middle class and are rapidly growing.

Future expansion

“Prime Bank plans to use the funds to support its future expansion plans, Burbidge Capital acted as the arranger and placing agent and Coulson Harney as the legal advisors to the private placement,” the bank’s managing director Mr Bharat Jani said.

The bank is headquartered in Kenya and has been in operation for 23 years, it has subsidiaries in Mozambique, Malawi, Botswana and Zambia. The amount will be used to diversify its product offering in all its branches.

Prime Bank’s core capital is at Sh4.951 billion, against the statutory requirements of Sh1 billion. Its customer deposits are now at Sh44.93 billion, an increase of 11 per cent over the previous year.

Three years ago, the Prime Bank signed a finance contract with European Investment Bank (EIB) for long term SME loans. It is now exploring the SME sector deeper, seeking engagements with the sector that comprises of 75 per cent of all businesses in Kenya.