Bank of Uganda has released a statement saying it has not received any request from Crane Bank to “approve a change in its shareholding.”
Last Thursday the bank, owned by businessman Sudhir Ruparelia, denied reports that it is up for sale. Instead, it said it was merging with a “strategic equity investor.” Press reports said the bank “has seen over 70% of its shares transferred and/or sold to South African investors.”
Benedict Sekabira, the director commercial banking at Bank of Uganda, told Uganda Business News on Friday that the central bank was not aware of any such deal.
Bank of Uganda’s statement in full:
We have received several enquiries about Crane Bank (U) Limited, which is one of twenty-five (25) commercial banks licensed and supervised by the Bank of Uganda (BoU). In line with the Financial Institutions Act 2004 (FIA 2004) as amended in 2016, if a commercial bank wishes to dispose of equity worth 5 percent or more of its shares, the sale must be approved by the Bank of Uganda.
As of now, the Bank of Uganda has not received any request from Crane Bank to approve a change in shareholding. Should such a request be received, the proposed shareholders will be vetted for “fit and proper” credentials and positively considered if they warrant approval.
It should be noted that it is normal practice for financial institutions to change shareholding in line with their strategic objectives, and this has happened several times in Uganda.
Christine B. Alupo