Access Bank gets CBN approval-in-principle to become holding company, set to operate in Mozambique, targets majority holding in South Africa’s Grobank

*Market reacts negatively as stock sheds 0.05%

WorldStage Newsonline– Access Bank Plc, Nigeria’s leading bank on Tuesday announced strategic update and transactions in furtherance of its vision to be Africa’s gateway to the world which include the Central Bank of Nigeria’s approval-in-principle restructure to a holding company (HoldCo), regulatory approval to operate in Mozambique, and plans to acquire majority holding in South Africa’s Grobank Limited.

Access Bank in a notification filed at the Nigerian Stock Exchange signed by Sunday Ekwochi, Company Secretary said the proposed HoldCo structure would enable the bank to further accelerate its objectives around business diversification, improved operational efficiency, talent retention as robust governance.

Access Bank said the definitive agreements to bolster its market position in Mozambique and enter the South African market followed the recent transaction with Cavmont Bank in Zambia and further embeds the bank’s presence in the SADC region, one of Africa’s most important trading blocs.

“These transactions will result in more connected African banking network that builds on Access Bank’s existing foundation and enhances its value proposition to stakeholders, including customers and employees,” the bank said.

“Shareholders will benefit from the economies of scale of a larger banking network, including the associated cost efficiencies arising from bank’s federated IT system and replication of investments in innovative products across a wider range of markets.

“A broader and connected Africa network remains a core strategic focus for geographic earnings growth and diversification, which will further enhance profitability and risk metrics. Through these transactions, Access Bank will be well placed to promote regional trade finance and other across-border banking service, further leveraging its presence in key global trade corridors in the UAE, the UK, China, Lebanon and India.”

On the strategic entry and acquisition in Mozambique, Access Bank said with regulatory approval it got, it will commence operations in Mozambique under the name Access Bank Mozambique, S.A
It said it had an agreement with ABC Holdings Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlas Mara Limited to acquire African Banking Corporation (Mozambique), S.A., for cash, in a combination of definite and contingent consideration

“This transaction will be funded from the capital invested by the bank in Access Bank Mozambique and will result in the Access Bank Mozambique becoming the 7th largest bank in the country, up from 20th. As an enlarged business, Access bank Mozambique will have enhanced capacity to play a more impactful role in the growth of the Mozambique economy, particularly in the emerging oil and gas sector, an industry that Access Bank has deep experience in,” the bank said.

On strategic investment in South Africa, it said it was building on its strategy of delivering a robust banking operation which connects key African markets, it had entered into a definitive agreement with GroCapital Holdings to invest into Grobank Limited over two tranches with the first being an initial cash consideration for a 49% shareholding, increasing to a majority stake in the second tranche.

GroCapital, whose shareholders include the Public Investment Corporation-Africa’s largest investment manager, and Fairfax Africa holdings- a leading global investor, will retain an existing but diluted shareholding in Grobank.

Access Bank said a presence in South Africa will serve as a cornerstone for further momentum in delivering on its mission to be Africa’s Gateway to the world.

“The proposed transaction is expected to provide access to the largest banking market in Africa and enable Access Bank to consolidate its Southern African and broader African footprint with enhanced capabilities to fulfill the needs of multi-national clients,” the bank said.

Speaking on these developments, Herbert Wigwe, GMD/CEO Access Bank said: “We have consistently said that we are focused on building the scale needed to become a leading African bank; one that leverages our experienced and growing talent base and key stakeholder partnerships towards driving sustainable impact and profitability. Today’s announcement demonstrates further commitment to delivering our strategic aspirations of becoming Africa’s Gateway to the world in line with our vision to be the World’s Most Respected African bank.

“The transactions will significantly strengthening our presence in Southern Africa and further our footprint for growth in the SADC region. With a broader presence across the continent, Access bank will be better placed to support our customers who are increasingly looking towards intra Africa growth. The proposed transactions will accelerate the bank’s momentum towards delivering world class banking services to an expanded customers base across Africa. Our goal remains to reach and impact 100 million unique customers across the continent.”

The stock market reacted negatively to the ambitious plans today as Access Bank’s stock shedding 0.05% from N6.75 to N6.7 per share with 246 transactions involving 11,758,389 shares valued at N78,677,709.50.

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