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AMCON set to sell Keystone Bank

By The Citizen
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The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) on Monday said it was seeking prospective investors to buy Keystone Bank, the last of the nationalised banks yet to be sold.

AMCON said in a public notice it had decided to divest its 100 percent interest in the bank and ask prospective buyers to submit their bids by March 4.

AMCON appointed Citibank’s local unit and FBN Capital as financial advisers to manage the process, asking prospective investors to submit bids, showing evidence of credibility and eligibility for the transaction.

Nigeria nationalized three lenders, Afribank, Spring Bank and Bank PHB in 2011, while AMCON then recapitalized them and changed their names to Mainstreet Bank, Enterprise Bank and Keystone Bank. Two of the banks have since been sold.

Based on audited account as of June last year, Keystone bank has a total assets of about 317.6 billion naira ($1.60 billion), equity of 18.9 billion naira and a loan portfolio of about 98.2 billion naira.

By Dec. 31, the Bank had 156 branches across the country with four subsidiaries, of which two are international, AMCON said in the notice.

Nigeria’s Sterling Bank told Reuters on Friday it was aiming to buy one or two mid-sized commercial lenders as sharp falls in the value of the naira and increased regulatory pressure are forcing banks to recapitalise.

AMCON was set up in 2010 to absorb non-performing loans in exchange for government bonds, after the central bank injected $4 billion to rescue nine lenders from collapse seven years ago.