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First Bank set to acquire Swiss bank assets in four West African countries

By The Citizen
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First Bank of Nigeria is in talks to acquire 100 per cent of the West African banking assets of the Switzerland's International Commercial Bank Financial Group Holdings, which has operations in four West African countries.

First Bank said in a filing through the stock exchange that it had received approvals for the transaction from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and regulators across West Africa.

It hoped to conclude the deal soon for the bank's assets in Ghana, Sierra Leone, Gambia and Guinea.

First Bank gave no details on how much it was paying to acquire the stake.

First Bank said it remained the Nigerian bank with a total asset base of N3.3tn ($21.3bn) as at June 30, 2013.

According to a statement by the bank, the transaction expands the bank's geographic footprint to cover 10 markets internationally, with existing operations outside Nigeria in the United Kingdom and France through its subsidiary, FBN Bank (UK) Limited.

The statement quoted the Chief Executive Officer, FBN, Mr. Bisi Onasanya, as saying, 'The acquisition of ICBGFH assets in Ghana, Guinea, Gambia and Sierra Leone fulfils the first stage of our ambitions to steadily build a broader and more diverse footprint across Africa.

'We are committed to developing a multi-local business model that broadens our geographic revenue base while providing enhanced service delivery to our new customers.'