Nigeria’s Fidelity bank eyes growth
LAGOS: Nigeria's Fidelity Bank wants to expand rapidly to become one of the country's top three lenders, growing organically and potentially through acquisitions, its chief executive said.
Reginald Ihejiahi said Fidelity was still interested in buying local rival Afribank, one of nine lenders rescued in a $4 billion bailout last year, even though it has picked a private equity consortium as its preferred bidder.
"With regards to the Afribank transaction, I will just say that these are early days yet. It's a transaction we are still waiting on," Ihejiahi told Reuters in an interview in the commercial capital Lagos.
"We will do an acquisition if the price is right, if the contractual terms are right."
Banking sources said last week that a consortium of private equity investors had emerged as the preferred bidder for Afribank with Fidelity as the reserve bidder.
Afribank has said it is in talks with potential investors but has given no further details.
Industry sources estimate private equity bidders would need to raise up to 30 billion naira to bring Afribank up to minimum capital requirement levels after state-run "bad bank" AMCON absorbs all of its non-performing loans.
AMCON was set up to help recapitalise the nine rescued banks by absorbing their bad loans in an effort to restore lending in sub-Saharan Africa's second biggest economy. It will also buy margin loans from across the wider banking sector.
Ihejiahi said Fidelity had disclosed all of its non-performing loans (NPLs) to AMCON and wanted to sell them.
"We want to sell 100 percent, we have no reason not to do that ... We have very little margin loans, we have about 5 billion naira," he said, adding that bank chiefs had met with AMCON on Thursday to discuss the process. -PB News
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira addressing a press conference. -App