Kenya’s Equity Bank Group has decided to close more than half of its branches in war-ravaged South Sudan due to a battered local currency and tough economic conditions, the group’s chief executive officer said.
James Mwangi, Equity’s chief executive, told a shareholder meeting that the bank had closed seven of its 12 branches in South Sudan.
“I would like to ask shareholders to treat South Sudan as a dormant company. We are just maintaining a licence and you can’t maintain a licence unless you’re open,” Mwangi said at the company’s annual general meeting yesterday.
Since December 2016, Equity held assets worth Sh. 11.1 billion in South Sudan.
However, the business was reportedly operating in tough conditions, recording net interest loss of Sh. 55 million and a loss before tax of Sh. 528 million.
“Last year, the devaluation caused us to write off a loss of Sh. 6 billion ($58.14 million). It is not performance; it is what you could call an economic meltdown,” he said.