Access Bank to operate as Holding company, gets CBN approval

[By KAYODE OGUNWALE]

Access Bank has received approval from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to operate as a holding company (holdco).

Herbert Wigwe, Access Bank GMD

This was made known in a press statement from the Company Secretary, Mr Sunday Ekwochi, noting that it was strategical expanding its foothold in other African markets in Southern Africa.

This development once utilised, would enable the bank to further accelerate its objectives around business diversification, improved operational efficiencies, talent retention, and robust governance.

“Access Bank Plc announces today that it has received the Central Bank of Nigeria’s approval-in-principle for the bank’s restructuring to a holding company.

“The proposed HoldCo structure would enable the bank to further accelerate its objectives around business diversification, improved operational efficiencies, talent retention as well as robust governance,” the notice said.

It then noted that further details regarding the HoldCo structure will be communicated to the market in due course.

The company also revealed that it is deepening its expansion within the African market by bolstering its position in Mozambique and South Africa.

This followed the bank’s recent transaction with Cavmont Bank in Zambia and further stamp the bank’s presence in the SADC region, one of Africa’s most important trading blocs.

On its strategic and acquisition in Mozambique, Access Bank revealed that it has received regulatory permission to operate in the country under the name ‘Access Bank Mozambique’.

The subsidiary also entered into an agreement with ABC Holdings Limited, to acquire African Banking Corporation (BancABC Mozambique) for cash, in a combination of definitive 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.

On its foray into the South African market, the lender disclosed that it has entered into a definitive agreement with GroCapital Holdings, to invest into Grobank Limited over two tranches, with an initial cash consideration for a 49 percent shareholding, and an additional increase to a majority stake in the second tranche.

Both tranches are, however, subject to various regulatory approvals and the overall transaction subject to Grobank’s shareholder approvals.

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.

Commenting on the deals, the GMD/CEO of Access Bank, Mr Herbert Wigwe, stated that, “We have consistently said 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.”

He further remarked that “these transactions will significantly strengthen 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-African growth.

“The proposed transactions will accelerate the Bank’s momentum towards delivering world-class banking services to an expanded customer base across Africa. Our goal remains to reach and impact 100 million unique customers across the continent.’’

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