Nige­ria’s Fidelity bank eyes growth

The Pak Banker - - Company& -

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

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