Saham Group snaps up Credit Mutuel’s stake in BMCE

MOROCCO – Molay Hafid Elalamy’s Saham Group is set to acquire 25% of Morocco’s third-largest banking group BMCE from French group Credit Mutuel, according to French media.

Acquiring BMCE shares is but a first step for Morocco’s largest insurance company as the group is reported to be eyeing RMA Watanya, which belongs to the same holding company as BMCE.

The move follows an earlier announcement by BMCE’s CEO Othman Benjelloun that the banking group will undergo a strategic shift extending to all the group’s activities in Africa.

The BMCE board of directors is to announce details of the “strategic shift” on the sidelines of an upcoming board meeting in March.

Sanlam drops bid to increase stake in Saham

Earlier, Africa’s largest insurance company Sanlam has dropped the bid to increase stakes in Morocco’s Saham insurance.

Citing unmet conditions, the South African financial giant announced halting acquisition plans for an additional 22.8% of stakes in Saham.

The now-abandoned transaction proposal also included a deal for Saham to reinvest and hold shares in Sanlam for a minimum of two years.

Sanlam Group closed a $1.1 billion acquisition deal in 2018, gaining 61.7% of Morocco’s largest insurance provider.

Experts speculate the sinking of the deal is due to the R5.8 billion ($365 million) impairment the company suffered in Morocco as COVID-19 struck.

The Saham acquisition is by far the biggest deal of its kind for the South African company, expanding its presence in 33 countries across Africa.

Amid tight market restrictions in South Africa, the Saham acquisition locked for Sanlam the possibility of fast growth in Africa.

Attijariwafa Bank joins RippleNet

Meanwhile, Attijariwafa, the leading banking service operator in Morocco has reportedly joined RippleNet.

RippleNet is an international cross-border payment network designed by the American blockchain company Ripple.

Through RippleNet,  Attijariwafa Bank members will be able to exchange transactions with each other from numerous destinations around the world.

The Moroccan diaspora consists of nearly 5 million people, as over 1 million reside in France.

 Attijariwafa Corporate Cash Management Manager Adnane Driouech said his company has been seeking to enter the modern tech industry by launching several initiatives for more than a year.

“With RippleNet, we connect to the blockchain, another fast and foolproof way to receive funds,” Driouech added.

Attijariwafa Bank confirmed it also partnered with Thunes – a transfer aggregator and a member of the RippleNet network.

The collaboration could be particularly beneficial for the Moroccan population living in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

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