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Atlas Mara in exclusive talks to buy stake in Banque Populaire du Rwanda

Staff writer |
Atlas Mara announced that it is in exclusive discussions to invest approximately $22.5 million in Banque Populaire du Rwanda (BPR).

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If successfully concluded, will result in Atlas Mara owning 45% of BPR. Following this transaction, Atlas Mara intends to merge BPR with BRD Commercial Bank, the Rwandan bank Atlas Mara acquired in 2014.

Atlas Mara will also purchase applicable secondary shares from local shareholders, resulting in the Company havinga controlling stake of over 70% in the combined entity. The combined institution will be Rwanda's largest bank by branch locations and second largest bank by assets with combined assets of approximately $305 million.

BPR enjoys strong customer loyalty, given its roots as a customer-owned bank and its forty-year history. As of 31 December 2014, BPR had approximately $227 million of assets, $155 million in loans, $181 million in deposits and $23 million of equity. It has 191 branch locations and approximately 1,370 employees.

Atlas Mara is committed to working closely with BPR's existing shareholders, including Rabobank and local shareholders, to maintain the bank's focus on under-banked sectors, such as small- and medium-sized enterprises ("SMEs") and farmers.

Given Rabobank's agricultural lendingexpertise and broad network of investments and operations in Africaand Atlas Mara's operational expertise and sub-Saharan African ambitions, Atlas Mara and Rabobank are enthusiastic about the potential to work together in other markets, as well.

At a recent extraordinary shareholders' meeting, BPR's shareholders granted approval to BPR's board to engage with Atlas Mara, on an exclusive basis, to negotiate the terms of the contemplated transactions.

The completion of the transactions is subject to binding legal agreements and regulatory approvals and is expected in the third quarter of 2015. Atlas Mara intends to fund the transactions with cash on its balance sheet.

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