KAMPALA. The proprietor of Crane Bank Limited, Mr Sudhir Ruparelia, yesterday said he had found a “strategic partner” to buy unspecified shares in Crane bank.
He told this newspaper by phone that the discussions are ongoing, but he is bound by a “non-disclosure” clause not to delve into the details, including the partners.
Defending his decision to sell off some of the bank’s shares, Mr Ruparelia said what they were doing “was a normal transaction” which should not cause any public anxiety or outcry.
Crane Bank is an indigenous bank solely owned by Mr Ruparelia, a businessman with interests in real estate, hospitality and service sectors. It started as a Forex Bureau before transforming 25 years ago into a fully-fledged commercial bank whose profitability, before losses registered last year, drove an ambitious expansion plan with opening of new branches across the country.
Mr Ruparelia stressed that the decision to divest the bank is a normal business transaction and they cannot at the moment disclose further details of the transaction until the deal is sealed.
“Read the press statement of Friday and understand it. Everything is clear; we are talking to strategic partner and we signed a non-disclosure agreement,” he said, adding: “It is not a new thing. If you are buying a property, do you go around talking about it before the deal is concluded?”
Last week, social media was awash with reports about the bank’s imminent sale. The bank’s management a press statement on Friday stating that the financial institution was “strong and sound”.
“Five years ago, the shareholders and board decided to diversify and at that time, the proposal that became public prematurely was the Initial Public Offer (IPO) route. That was a thought process as the branches spread and expansion took root,” the statement read in part. It added: “Two year ago, still with a drive to strengthen the bank, the shareholders and the board decided to get a strategic equity investor preferably with a regional, and even better, continental network,”.