Billionaire investor Baloobhai Patel has solidified his position as the leading local investor in Absa Bank Kenya Plc by acquiring an additional five million shares last year.
With a current market value of Sh58.75 million at Sh11.75 per share, this move signifies Patel's commitment to strengthening his stake in the prominent lender.
Previously holding 42.5 million shares in Absa Bank Kenya as of December 2021, Patel increased his ownership to 47.5 million shares, representing a rise from 0.78 per cent to 0.88 per cent during the following period.
These noteworthy shareholding changes were recently disclosed in the bank's latest annual report, which catalogued the top 30 shareholders.
Although Patel stands as the third-largest shareholder, behind two foreign investors, including parent company Absa Group, he has emerged as the most substantial local investor in the financial institution.
In acknowledgement of his significant investment, Patel received Sh54.7 million as a final dividend, in addition to a total of Sh64.2 million for the fiscal year ending December 2022.
Furthermore, Absa Bank Kenya distributed a final dividend of Sh1.15 per share to its registered shareholders on May 25, 2023, with eligibility based on the register as of April 28, 2023.
This dividend followed a previous interim payout of Sh0.2 disbursed in the previous year.
Absa Bank Kenya's robust financial performance has attracted attention, as the lender reported a remarkable 50.7 per cent surge in net profit, amounting to Sh4.45 billion, for the three-month period ending March.
The notable growth was largely driven by an increase in non-interest income.
During this period, the bank's non-interest income experienced the most significant upturn, climbing from Sh3 billion to Sh4.5 billion.
The notable rise was supported by an impressive 80 per cent surge in foreign exchange trading income, reaching Sh2.2 billion.
Moreover, Absa Bank Kenya's loan book expanded from Sh242.7 billion in the corresponding quarter last year to Sh310 billion, reflecting the institution's commitment to fostering lending activities and stimulating economic growth.
This substantial investment further underscores his unwavering commitment to the growth and development of various sectors within the Kenyan economy.
As Baloobhai Patel continues to consolidate his influence as a prominent investor, his unwavering support for Absa Bank Kenya and other key companies positions him as a significant force within the country's financial landscape.
His actions are not only indicative of confidence in the banking sector but also a testament to the potential for sustainable growth and prosperity in Kenya's economy as a whole.