Dfcu bank in ‘liquidity crisis’ as shareholder quits

Dfcu bank, which at the start of last year, controversially acquired Crane bank from Bank of Uganda, is in deep liquidity crisis following the exit of one of its biggest shareholders. 

CDC Group, a UK-based development finance institution, in a June 14 letter to Dfcu bank Limited top management, Irina Grigorenko, the investment director Financial Institutions said CDC Group Plc was undertaking a review of its investment in Dfcu Limited which may lead to the disposal of some or all of its shares in Dfcu over the short to medium term.

According to sources, the firm, has over the years reduced its shareholding to about 10 per cent from 60 per cent.

“After a period of over 50 years as a shareholder, it is our aspiration to exit in a manner that causes minimum disruption to the business and ensures that the orderly trading of Dfcu’s shares,” reads the letter adding that, “that CDC’s objective is to identify like-minded investors who could support Dfcu in its new phase of growth.”

Dfcu chairman Elly Karuhanga while addressing the media today, admitted that the exit of Dfcu’s biggest shareholder, CDC has already thrown the bank into a liquidity crisis – with the bank struggling to raise requested loan moneys to its customers. 

“We don’t know whether CDC group is running away completely or selling part of its shares. So we don’t really know what is going on. They have not made it officially to us. If they make it clear to us we shall inform you,” Karuhanga is quoted as saying by matookerepublic.com. 

Dfcu Ltd general manager George Ochom said “Liquidity is very critical in any bank. Really it is critical in the interbank market because you know there are always payments that go
for daily basis so in normal cause of banking business there is a lot of movements of funds.” 

In its letter, CDC expressed hope that Dfcu would continue to “succeed with the support of Arise B.V., its major shareholder.” CDC’s investment in Dfcu, according to the institution’s official website, is $15.1m (equity) and $10m (subordinated loan).

About nine institutional investors own Dfcu, with Arise BV holding the largest shareholding at 59 per cent. CDC is in second position, followed by National Social Security Fund (NSSF). It is not immediately clear if the recent resignation of Arise BV executive director Deepak Malik from the Dfcu bank’s board of directors is also linked to the current crisis. 

Some insider reports indicate that the crisis was sparked off by the fight over sharing of the Shs 127 billion after tax profit that the bank made in 2017 following the acquisition of Crane bank. After the Crane bank takeover, Dfcu’s annual net profit jump by more than 136% while assets leaped up by 100% in 2017 – putting it right on the list of the most profitable banks in the country.

Dfcu’s after tax profit in 2016 was just Shs 46 billion before the Crane bank takeover. It was the first time Dfcu had crossed the Shs 100 billion threshold, becoming the fourth bank to do so in the country.

Dfcu acquired Crane bank at about Shs 200 billion,but the bank’s management insist Crane bank was valued above Shs 1.3 trillion. Dfcu is listed on the Uganda Securities Exchange and is still battling a court case with Crane bank shareholders over the takeover. 

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read more here: The Observer - Uganda. This post is syndicated.

The Observer - Uganda

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