Atlas Mara to spend $22 mln to build top Rwandan bank

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LONDON,  – Atlas Mara, the African bank co-founded by former Barclays boss Bob Diamond, is in talks invest $22.5 million in Banque Populaire du (BPR) and merge it with its existing Rwandan bank.

Atlas Mara said on Monday if successfully concluded it will own 45 percent of BPR and plans to buy shares other local to lift its stake to than 70 percent. It plans to merge it with BRD Commercial Bank, which it bought last year.

The merger would create Rwanda’s largest bank by branch locations and second largest bank by assets with combined assets of approximately $305 million, Atlas Mara said.

BPR’s existing shareholders include Dutch lender Rabobank, which Atlas Mara said it intends to work with.

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Atlas Mara, founded in 2013, said last month it was considering more acquisitions as part of its to become sub-Saharan Africa’s leading bank. After a series of deals it has operations or interests across seven countries, including Botswana, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. (Reporting by Steve Slater; editing by David Clarke).