Equity Bank and KCB auction prime shopping mall in Kigali at $16.4m

Third floor Conference Room, Equity Bank Rwanda, Kigali

The Rwandan subsidiaries of regional lenders KCB and Equity have auctioned a prime shopping mall in Kigali for $16.4 million.

BPR Rwanda, a unit of KCB, and Equity Bank Rwanda were seeking to recover a $16 million loan the owner of Kigali Business Centre (KBC) owed to the lenders.

The complex, which had been placed under receivership, was valued at $23 million.

“We got a buyer, and the property was sold in an auction yesterday (Wednesday). The buyer hasn’t given us the money, but he still has up to 72 hours. Once payment comes through, I will share more details,” Samuel Muhire, the receiver manager appointed by Rwanda Development Board (RDB), said.

He said the property owner, businessman Charles Mporanyi, didn’t raise any concerns when they talked on the phone to update him about the sale.

“He just asked who bought it and asked that we give them some time to remove their things and exit the property,” said Mr Muhire.

The receiver manager said he could not reveal the buyer’s identity until the transaction was complete, but a source close to the deal said it was Allied Investments Limited.

KBC is one of the newest prime shopping complexes added to the Kigali skyline in recent years. It is located at an affluent city intersection with other premium amenities like Kigali Heights, Kigali Convention Centre (KCC), and Radisson Blu hotel.

Mr Mporanyi, one of Rwanda’s consummate career businessmen, built the complex after selling his insurance company Soras, Rwanda’s second oldest insurer, to South African giant Sanlam.

Efforts to get a comment from Mr Mporanyi have been futile.

“The property has been sold. The bank is yet to receive its money, but there is nothing for banks to celebrate. What this means is that the shared vision we had with the property owner has failed. This takes us back to the drawing board,” said BPR chief executive George Odhiambo.

“In between, there are players that are happy; the receiver gets his commission, and the new property owner gets an investment,” he added.

The receiver was coy about sharing details of the buyer, Allied Investments Ltd.

The shopping complex hosts furniture and clothing shops, entertainment spots, and BPR and Equity bank branches.

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