In an interesting development in the banking sector as Pakistan’s second largest bank MCB Bank is looking for acquiring major stakes in Telenor Microfinance Bank.
According to notification issued to Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX), MCB Bank is going to conduct due diligence of Telenor Microfinance Bank in order to acquire 55 per cent of its shares.
The commercial bank has been granted an in-principle approval from the banking regulator for a potential transaction of acquiring the targeted shares in the microfinance bank held by its parent company Telenor Pakistan,(operates under the brand name of Easypaisa).
The bank witnessed transition of ownership more than once in the past.
Telenor Microfinance Bank is jointly owned by Telenor Group and Ant Group at present.
The bank was established in 2005 as Tameer Microfinance Bank. In 2009, the bank launched Pakistan’s first mobile banking platform Easypaisa, transforming digital payments in the country. Late in 2018, Ant Financial bought 45% share of Telenor Bank.
Introduced a branchless banking being as a pioneer with the brand of Easypaisa, Telenor Bank has expanded its businesses countrywide with innovative services however the financial performance of the microfinance bank continue to worst.
According to balance sheet, the bank maintained assets with the value of Rs. 50 billion but its losses continue to unabated at Rs. 7.5 billion by the end of September 2021.
MCB Bank is the second largest bank in terms of network. The bank maintained an expansion approach to scale up its operations. It not only acquired and merged the operations of NIB Bank in 2016 but it also set up a subsidiary of specialized banking unit, MCB Islamic Bank. The commercial bank also expressed its intention to acquire SME Bank but the plan was revoked later on.
The proposed acquisition of microfinance bank is likely to bring correction in the microfinance sector with the back of a major bank. Like Khushhali Bank is backed by United Bank Limited and First Microfinance Bank is owned by Habib Bank Limited with major shareholding.