Access Bank, UBA, GTB … Nigerian banks with breakthroughs in Africa

A bucolic setting, an elegantly set table, well-dressed guests, all smiling …

Not a cloud in the sky at the beginning of May when Herbert Wigwe, the boss of the first Nigerian banking group, was received in Gaborone by his counterpart Kgotso Bannalotlhe, CEO of BancABC Botswana.

In mid-April, the Nigerian giant Access Bank – with a turnover of 516 billion naira in 2020 (1 billion euros) – took out its checkbook to acquire, via ABC Holdings, the 78% of the capital held by the British bank Atlas Mara in the African Banking Corporation of Botswana. Limited (BancABC Botswana). The cash amount is roughly 1.13 times the bank’s book value, according to the seller, which is estimated to be over BWP 1 billion (around € 90m), at the end of 2019.

That’s less than half of the $ 200 million (€ 177 million) Access paid to buy Diamond Bank in 2019. Lagos market watchers agree it shouldn’t upset the market. Access Bank’s balance sheet and will provide access to a target market.

BancABC Botswana had reached fifth place in total assets in the domestic market as of December 31, 2019, behind local subsidiaries of Standard Chartered, Stanbic Bank, Absa (formerly Barclays Botswana) and First National Bank of Botswana.

Access Bank’s organic growth “in the DNA”

This operation is a new brick in the castle of Access Bank Group, whose ambition is to “become the most respected African bank in the world”. Since 2019 and the acquisition of Diamond Bank, the group has consolidated its status as a leading bank in Nigeria, even becoming the continent’s leading banking player in terms of customers (31 million).

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