A consortium formed by Mauritian conglomerate CIEL and Madagascar’s First Immo has bought 51% stake in BNI, one of the largest commercial banks in Madagascar.

The documentation for the acquisition of 51% of share capital of BNI Madagascar, currently held by Crédit Agricole SA, was signed on June 6, 2014.

Jean-Pierre Dalais and Hassanein Hiridjee inked the agreement as representatives of Indian Ocean Financial holdings Ltd (IOFHL), which is a consortium established by two groups with strong regional roots, CIEL Ltd and the Hiridjee Group.

CIEL and First Immo, a subsidiary of the Hiridjee Group, hold 60% and 40% of the shares of IOFHL respectively.

For Jean-Pierre Dalais, executive director of CIEL, this investment is the logical result of building upon CIEL’s development strategy in the Indian Ocean region.

It may be noted that CIEL has been present in Madagascar for over 20 years in the textiles sector.

“We chose to invest in BNI as we were impressed by the high threshold set by its service staff as well as our strong belief in the outstanding development potential which this institution represents,” he said.

He stated that for CIEL, the purpose of this acquisition is to strengthen the group’s presence in the financial sector, by investing in a bank already well positioned in the Madagascar financial services market.

“We intend moreover to establish BNI as the premier bank of Madagascar, by strengthening, among others, its policy of support to emerging economic players in the country, notably small and medium-sized firms,” he added.

Moreover, according to the terms of the agreement, BNI Madagascar will benefit from a partnership with the Crédit Agricole Group during a period of two years, to support the IOFHL consortium in this transition period.

This partnership will extend across numerous domains such as human resources, international operations and systems support.

The operational management of BNI has been entrusted to a high-level executive committee from Crédit Agricole SA, comprising senior officer Francois Hoffmann and his team.

BNI’s development strategy will lean heavily on its capacity to innovate, with well-conceptualized products and innovative financial services aiming at the professional and social community.

It will be a question of staying ahead of the ebanking curve by developing new products and services which are accessible, easy to use, reliable and secure.

Additionally, the expansion of BNI’s network to gain greater proximity to its clientele will continue, supported by an ambitious strategy of opening new branches.

It is to be noted that the government of Madagascar will continue to hold 32% stake in the banking major.

About BNI Madagascar:

BNI is one of the biggest commercial banks of Madagascar and is a major financial services provider in the corporate segment.

BNI comprises 31 modern bank branches among which 14 are in the capital Antananarivo and its proximity, and has network of 51 ATM with approximately 700 employees.

In 2002, Crédit Agricole SA bought 51% stake in BNI following the acquisition by Crédit Agricole by the Crédit Lyonnais Group in France.

About First Immo and the Hiridjee Group

First Immo, led by Hassanein Hiridjee, is an infrastructure major based in Madagascar.

The group operates in the sectors of infrastructure, mobile telephony, energy and distribution of petroleum products, among others.

About CIEL

CIEL Group is a leading industrial and investment group, based in Mauritius since 1912.

The conglomerate has operations across five distinct sectors – textile, agro-industry, property, hotel, finance and health.

CIEL, which employs some 22,000 people including some 8,000 in Mauritius, is also present in Madagascar, Bangladesh and India through its textile operations, Tanzania through agribusiness and Africa through financial services.

Image (CIEL): The documentation for the acquisition of 51% of share capital of BNI Madagascar, currently held by Crédit Agricole SA, was signed on June 6, 2014 by Indian Ocean Financial holdings Ltd (IOFHL), a consortium formed by CIEL and First Immo.

More business news on AfricaMoney