Ster­ling Bank backs out of Key­stone Bank pur­chase

Daily Trust - - BUSINESS - From Sun­day Michael Ogwu & Omobayo Azeez with agency re­port

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.

Photo: Smile Com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

From left, Group Head of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Mar­ket­ing, Ni­co­lene Van Zyl, Group Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, God­frey Efeurhobo and Chief Cor­po­rate Ser­vices Of­fi­cer, Tobe Okigbo, all of Smile Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Nige­ria Limited at the un­veil­ing of the Low­est 4G LTE Voice Call Rate in Nige­ria by Smile in La­gos on Wed­nes­day

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