Crane Bank suspends listing of shares

Customers line up to be served at the newly opened Crane Bank branch in Kyengera. The bank has suspended listing on the stock exchange in favour of expansion. PHOTO BY Stephen Wandera

What you need to know:

The bank wants to expand its footprint inside and outside the country


Crane Bank’s plan to list on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE) has been put on hold, Daily Monitor can reveal.
This means that Ugandans who were looking to own part of the bank through buying shares at the stock exchange will have to wait as the bank continues to deepen its penetration both within and outside the country’s borders.
In an interview after commissioning its 43rd branch in Ndeeba, a Kampala suburb last week, the board chairman, Mr Joseph Biribonwa, said the move to list on the stock exchange will have to wait as there are other priorities to deal with before attention is focused on going public—move for Initial Public Offering (IPO). He said: “At the moment we are not taking that route although we know that it is important for Ugandans to own part of the bank.”
He continued: “We are reviewing that plan and there should not be any reason to panic.”
Industry analysts are tight-lipped on the matter, saying it is too early to understand why the bank has backtracked on its stance to offer part of its stake to the public.
However, according to Capital Markets Authority, Crane Bank’s ambitious expansion drive, is important in raising its profile.
Speaking earlier (during the commissioning of the bank’s 42nd branch at Kyengera, on the outskirts of Kampala), the bank’s acting managing director, Mr P Gupta, said: “Crane Bank is a local bank and listing is important. But at the moment we are opening top range branches across the country and once we are done we (the board) can look at what next.”
He said all the branches are made with the view to cater for the interest of the people in that particular area.
Earlier in the year, the bank had said within three months, which ended in April, Ugandans will have an opportunity to own Crane Bank, according to the bank’s managing director A R Kalan, currently on leave.
In 2013, the bank made a profit before tax of Shs65 billion. Its focus on customer care is its greatest strength according to the management.

capital markets authority view on the bank’s listing

Capital Market Authority (CMA), the industry regulator, sees no problem with the bank’s move to suspend its decision to list.
In an interview yesterday, CMA manager communication and public relations Charles Nsamba said: “Listing is a process that could take time. And because of that, it is okay for a company to change its mind as many times as possible until everything is perfectly in place.”
He continued: “The major motivation for listing is to raise capital but any time the bank is ready to list CMA will be happy to play its role as long as we are notified formally—presenting company’s prospectus.”