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Nigeria’s Access plans to acquire majority stake in Kenya lender Centum for $15 bln

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Access Corporation Plc, the holding company of Access Bank Limited has said that it has agreed to acquire the entire 83.4 per cent equity stake held by Kenya’s Centum Investment Plc for N15 billion.

Sidian Bank Ltd is a subsidiary of Centum Investment Company plc-a publicly listed company in Kenya.

According to the company secretary, Sunday Ekwoche in a statement on Wednesday, the purchase consideration includes the price to “book multiple of 1.1x” based on the audited March 31, 2022 shareholders’ equity of Sidian.

“Access Holdings Plc trading as Access Corporation today announces that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Access Bank Plc (the Bank’) has entered into a binding agreement with Kenyan-based Centum Investment Plc (Centum) for the acquisition of the entire 83.4 per cent equity stake held by Centum in Sidian Bank Ltd (‘Sidian’),” the financial institution stated.

“The purchase consideration is approximately up to NGN15 billion (USD 37 million), representing a price to book multiple of 1.1x based on the audited 31 March 2022 shareholders equity of Sidian. Sidian will be merged with Access Bank’s subsidiary in Kenya, Access Bank Kenya, to create a stronger banking institution better positioned to serve the Kenyan market.”

Speaking on the transaction, Herbert Wigwe, the Group Chief Executive, Access The corporation said: “This growth transaction being implemented in Kenya represents the relentless focus and execution of our strategic objectives within our banking subsidiary even as we grow the other businesses within Access Corporation’s core segments.

“The acquisition of Sidian is a significant step-up in scale and potential for Access Bank in Kenya which represents the largest market and trade corridor in East Africa.

“The significant increase in scale and customer base presents us with enormous opportunities to support growth in the various ecosystems we are building in our trade and payment business.

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“The economies of scale that derive therefrom will continue to drive and enhance contributions to all stakeholders,” he added.

Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank, Roosevelt Ogbonna said: “This transaction builds on our earlier acquisition of the former Transnational Bank Plc (now Access Bank Kenya) and underscores our resolve to strengthen our presence in Kenya, a key African market that fits into our strategic focus for geographic earnings growth and diversification.

“The acquisition and intended subsequent merger will create a strong and competitive balance sheet for Access Bank in Kenya, positioning us to be well-placed to promote regional trade finance and other cross border banking services in the East African Community (EAC) and broader COMESA region.

“The proposed combination with Access Bank Kenya would undoubtedly propel Access Bank into a strong contender in the Kenyan market with enhanced capacity to play a more impactful role in the growth of its economy while delivering increased profitability for our shareholders.

“This transaction is subject to the fulfilment of conditions precedent including regulatory approvals in Kenya and Nigeria,” he added.

The proposed purchase is a further testament to its recent acquisition drive.

In 2018, Access Bank acquired Diamond Bank through a merger and acquisition deal, completed in 2019.

Also in the last quarter of the same year, the bank acquired Transnational Bank (Kenya) Plc.

In August 2020, it also purchased Cavmont Bank Limited through a merger deal and finalised the process in January 2021.

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