KARACHI: The Telenor Group has increased its shareholding in Tameer Microfinance Bank to 100%, which makes the country’s first and largest microfinance bank a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Norway-based telecommunications giant.
Speaking to The Express Tribune on Thursday, Tameer’s founder Nadeem Hussain said he and other minority shareholders, who collectively held 49% stakes in the bank, have sold their shares to the Telenor Group.
Hussain, who is also the bank’s CEO, held 29.4% stake in Tameer through his company called EMC whereas other shareholders namely International Finance Corporation, Centurion, Nizar Noor Muhammed and Noor Muhammad Mewawalla held 4.9%, 7.3%, 3.6% and 3.6%, respectively. Telenor Pakistan controlled the rest of 51% shareholding in Tameer.
He refused to state the size of the transaction. Net assets of Tameer amounted to Rs3.2 billion at the end of June 2015, according to its latest financial accounts. The bank earned Rs382.8 million in the first six months of 2015, which is 23.2% higher than the net profit for Jan-Jun 2014.
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Hussain added that with the Telenor Group controlling 100% shareholding in Tameer, Pakistan’s first and largest branchless banking solution, Easypaisa, will immediately become part of the microfinance bank.
Launched jointly by Tameer and Telenor Pakistan in 2009, Easypaisa has over 70,000 shops in more than 800 cities across the country. Nearly 650,000 transactions are conducted on Easypaisa every day by 15 million active customers.
In addition to selling his stake in the bank, Hussain is also stepping down as its CEO. However, he will continue his association with the bank by serving as a member of its board of directors. Ali Chaudhry is going to replace him as president and CEO, according to an official statement.
“Transitions like these are always a moment of mixed emotions. Naturally, I am a little sad to leave Tameer, as it represents a long labour of love and a decade of innovation. But I am more excited, as it moves on to the next step in its evolution,” Hussain said.