Sterling Bank backs out of Keystone Bank purchase
Nigeria’s Sterling Bank has ended talks to buy rival Keystone Bank after finding it an unsuitable fit.
The bank was now raising funds as it considered other acquisitions, its chief finance officer (CFO), has said
In an interview with Reuters, Abubakar Suleiman, the CFO, said: “We reviewed Keystone Bank and concluded the strategic fit was not strong enough. We will continue to evaluate all the options. As new candidates come into the market, we will also review them.”
Sterling Bank had disclosed in February that it was aiming to buy one or two mid-sized lenders as sharp falls in the value of the naira and increased regulatory pressure forced banks to recapitalise.
The Managing Director (MD)/Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Bank, Mr Adeyemi Razack Adeola, said: “I think if opportunities arise for banks to pursue further consolidation, we could see two or three. I also know that two or three international banks are interested in pursuing acquisition in Nigeria and they are indeed having discussions already.
“So you could see combination of one or two international banks taking over one or two Nigerian banks or merging with them. Nothing also stops two, three banks from having merger discussions in 2016 from the look of thing.”
Keystone Bank was the last of Nigeria’s nationalised lenders, which state-backed “bad bank” AMCON sought to sell.
Suleiman said that Sterling’s strategic plan was to acquire a rival in Nigeria, adding that any move was likely to come after studying the impact of last month’s 30 percent fall in the value of the naira.
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