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With New HoldCo, Access Bank Makes Big Play for Southern Africa as it Accelerates Africa Expansion

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Nigerian tier 1 lender Access Bank Plc says that it has received an Approval-in-Principle from the Central Bank of Nigeria for the restructuring of its operations into a holding company (HoldCo).

The bank said that the proposed HoldCo structure would enable the Bank to further accelerate its objectives around business diversification, improved operational efficiencies, talent retention as well as robust governance. Access said that additional details regarding the HoldCo structure will be communicated to the market in due course.

As part of its expansion, Access Bank also announced definitive agreements to bolster its market position several African countries as part of its rapid expansion across the continent.

In addition to the acquisition of Zambia’s Cavmont Bank, Access Bank is in advanced stage of launching its operations in Mozambique and South Africa, cementing the bank’s presence in the SADC region, one of Africa’s most strategic blocs.

Access says that a broader and connected Africa network remains a core strategic focus for geographic earnings growth and diversification, which will further enhance profitability and risk metrics.These transactions will result in a more connected African banking network that builds on Access Bank’s existing foundation and enhances its value proposition to stakeholders, including customers and employees.

The bank says that its shareholders will benefit from the economies of scale of a larger banking network, including the associated cost efficiencies arising from the bank’s federated IT system and the replication of investments in innovative products across a wider range of markets.

When these transactions are finalized, Access Bank intends to be better placed to promote regional trade finance and other cross-border banking services, further leveraging its presence in key global trade corridors in the UAE, the UK, China, Lebanon, and India.

Access Bank announced that it has received regulatory approvals to commence operations in Mozambique under the name Access Bank Mozambique, S.A. (“Access Bank Mozambique”) and that Access Bank Mozambique has entered into a definitive agreement with ABC Holdings Limited (“ABC Holdings”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Atlas Mara Limited (“Atlas Mara”) to acquire African Banking Corporation (Moҫambique), S.A., (“BancABC Mozambique”) for cash, in a combination of definitive and contingent consideration.

This transaction will be funded from the capital invested by the bank in Access Bank Mozambique and will result in the Access Bank Mozambique becoming the 7th largest bank in the country, up from the 20th. As an enlarged business, Access Bank Mozambique will have an enhanced capacity to play a more impactful role in the growth of the Mozambican economy, particularly in the emerging oil and gas sector, an industry that Access Bank has deep experience in. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and customary conditions precedent.

The bank has also entered the South African market as it has entered into a definitive agreement with GroCapital Holdings (“GroCapital”) to invest in Grobank Limited over two tranches. The first is an initial cash consideration for a 49% shareholding, increasing to a majority stake in the second tranche. Both tranches are subject to various regulatory approvals and the overall transaction subject to Grobank’s shareholder approvals.

GroCapital, whose shareholders include the Public Investment Corporation – Africa’s largest investment manager, and Fairfax Africa Holdings – a leading global investor, will retain an existing but diluted shareholding in Grobank.

A presence in South Africa will serve as a cornerstone for further momentum in delivering on Access Bank’s mission to be Africa’s Gateway to the World. The proposed transaction is expected to provide access to the largest banking market in Africa and enable Access Bank to consolidate its Southern African and broader African footprint with enhanced capabilities to fulfill the needs of multi-national clients.

Access Bank’s Group Chief Executive Herbert Wigwe said: “We have consistently said that we are focused on building the scale needed to become a leading African bank; one that leverages our experienced and growing talent base and key stakeholder partnerships towards driving sustainable impact and profitability. Today’s announcement demonstrates further commitment to delivering our strategic aspirations of becoming Africa’s Gateway to the World in line with our vision to be the World’s Most Respected African Bank.

These transactions will significantly strengthen our presence in Southern Africa and further our footprint for growth in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region. With a broader presence across the continent, Access Bank will be better placed to support our customers who are increasingly looking towards intra Africa growth. The proposed transactions will accelerate the Bank’s momentum towards delivering world-class banking services to an expanded customer base across Africa. Our goal remains to reach and impact 100 million unique customers across the continent.”

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