Kenya's Britam says plans to buy 24.75 pct stake in Housing Finance

NAIROBI, July 1 Tue Jul 1, 2014 2:36am EDT

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NAIROBI, July 1 (Reuters) - Kenyan diversified financial services company British American (Britam) said on Tuesday it planned to buy a 24.75 percent stake in mortgage provider Housing Finance that is held by Equity Bank.

Britam said in a statement at present it already indirectly had a stake in Housing Finance and that the acquisition would increase its shareholding to 46.08 percent once it bought out Equity Bank's 57.27 million shares.

"Britam and Equity Bank have entered into a share sale agreement dated June 30 on which terms Equity Bank has accepted Britam's offer ..." Britam said.

It did not give the value of the transaction.

Britam said the share sale was still subject to approval by the Capital Markets Authority, the central bank, the National Treasury and the Competition Authority of Kenya.

Equity Bank, Kenya's biggest lender by depositors, posted a 21 percent rise in first quarter 2014 pretax profit to 5.4 billion shillings ($61.57 million) while that of Housing Finance rose 13 percent to 316.0 million shillings in the same period.

Britam, which has insurance, asset management and property development businesses, posted a 12 percent rise in pretax profit for 2013 to 3.2 billion shillings.

Britam's shares closed trade on Monday up 1.5 percent at 19.90 shillings, while those of Equity Bank finished 1.1 percent higher at 46.00 shillings.

Housing Finance closed up 3 percent at 42.75 shillings a share. ($1 = 87.7000 Kenyan Shillings) (Reporting by George Obulutsa; Editing by Sophie Walker)

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