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Nigeria’s Access Bank to buy Atlas Mara’s stake in BancABC

PUBLISHED: Mon, 19 Apr 2021 12:48:44 GMT

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By Chijioke Ohuocha

ABUJA, April 19 (Reuters) – Nigeria’s biggest lender Access Bank said on Monday it has agreed to buy a majority stake in African Banking Corporation of Botswana for cash, a month after it acquired a South African bank.

Access Bank is expanding across Africa to counter stagflation at home and dollar shortages that have frustrated businesses. The lender will acquire just over 78% of BancABC Botswana for cash of around 1.13 times book value and a two-year deferred payment, amounting to an undisclosed sum, Atlas Mara said in a statement.

The latest acquisition from ABC Holdings, the local unit of London-listed Atlas Mara, brings its African presence to 10 countries. The deal is expected to close before the end of the second quarter.

“We remain committed to a disciplined and thoughtful expansion strategy in Africa, which we believe will create strong, sustainable returns,” Access Group Chief Executive Herbert Wigwe said.

BancABC Botswana is the fifth largest bank in Botswana and has a quality retail loan book with the scope for expansion into corporate and small to medium-sized enterprise lending, Access said.

Nigerian lenders have been seeking new avenues to boost profit amid slow economic growth at home, a drop in government bond yields and a rise in restructured loans due to the impact of the pandemic.

In March Access Bank bought a controlling stake in South Africa’s Grobank for around $60 million, becoming first Nigerian lender to venture into South Africa. It has also struck recent deals in Zambia and Mozambique. (Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Jan Harvey)

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