Nigeria’s Access Bank set to buy controlling stake in African Banking Corporation of Botswana

NIGERIAAccess Bank, Nigeria’s biggest lender, has agreed to buy a majority stake in African Banking Corporation of Botswana for cash, a month after acquiring a South African bank.

The Nigerian bank will acquire just over 78% of BancABC Botswana for an undisclosed cash sum of around 1.13 times book value as well as a two-year deferred payment, Atlas Mara said in a statement.

Access Bank is expanding across the African continent to counter stagflation and dollar shortages in Nigeria that have frustrated businesses, shrinking the lending market.

The deal with ABC Holdings, the local unit of London-listed Atlas Mara, expands Access Bank’s African presence to 10 countries. It 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.

“We remain committed to a disciplined and thoughtful expansion strategy in Africa, which we believe will create strong, sustainable returns.”

Herbert Wigwe – CEO, Access Group

BancABC is Botswana’s fifth largest bank 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 ways to boost profit amid slow economic growth at home, a drop in government bond yields and a rise in restructured loans due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Access Bank bought a controlling stake in South Africa’s Grobank for around US$60 million in March 2021, becoming the first Nigerian lender to venture into South Africa.

In February 2021, its Zambian subsidiary completed the acquisition of Cavmont Bank Limited. Before that, in January 2021 it proposed a merger with Cavmont Bank Namibia.

The bank also announced in 0ctober 2020, it plans of acquiring 100% stake in Atlas Mara’s Mozambican banking subsidiary.

In July 2020, Access Banks completed the acquisition of Transnational Bank (Kenya) Plc, a medium sized commercial bank that mainly focuses on Kenya’s agricultural sector.

With more than US$16 billion of assets and a focus on corporate and retail banking, Access is restructuring into a holding company to drive its international expansion.

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