Access, Diamond Get Final Approval To Merge

Access Bank Plc and Diamond Bank Plc have gotten final merger approvals from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The two financial institutions, in separate corporate disclosures issued on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) at the weekend, confirmed that the approvals have been secured.

“Access Bank Plc is pleased to announce that the bank has received the final approval of both the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to the proposed scheme of merger between the bank and Diamond Bank Plc,” a statement by Access Bank disclosed.

“The scheme is subject to judicial sanction by the Federal High Court. We will provide further update to the market upon receipt of court sanction of the scheme.”


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Diamond Bank Appoints Babade Acting Chairman

Diamond Bank Plc on Thursday notified the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) that following the recent resignation of Mr. Oluseyi Bickersteth as Director/ Chairman
of the Board, the Board of Directors of the bank has appointed Mr. Dele Babade as acting Chairman effective December 24, 2018.

Babade holds Bachelors and Master’s degrees in Laws from University of London and was called to both the Nigerian and English Bar.

He started his career with Midland Montagu London (the predecessor of HSBC Investment Bank) on the Graduate Training Programme in 1988 and at various times worked in the UK and Greece mainly in Corporate and Merchant Banking.

He joined Citibank in 1993 and garnered experience from Citibank’s Emerging Markets business focusing on businesses beyond Africa and became Vice President in charge of all cross border/international deals for Africa in 1996, statement on the NSE website explained.

In 1998, he joined Nomura International in London as a Director for Investment Banking for Africa. After re-joining Citibank in 2000, he was moved to Nigeria and Ivory Coast in 2001 as Executive Director covering Nigeria and West Africa and was a board member of Citibank Nigeria from 2001 to 2006. He also served as Citibank’s Director & Regional Head Sub-Sahara Africa Corporate Finance & Investment Banking based in South Africa from 2002 to 2006.

He started his own investment advisory firm in 2007 but left briefly to join Ecobank Transnational Inc as Head of Ecobank Capital from 2010 to 2012 and was also a member of the Group Executive Committee, the top executive body for overall direction of the Ecobank Group. Since 2012, he has been running his firm focusing on inward cross border transactions across the African continent.

He currently serves as Chairman of the Africa Risk Capacity Pan African Insurance Company (ARC Ltd) and is also the Chairman of its Finance and Investment Committee. ARC Ltd is a financial affiliate of the African Risk Capacity, a specialized agency of the African Union (AU), an initiative designed to improve current responses to climate-related food security emergencies.

Babade was nominated by First Carlyle Growth V (Carlyle) and his appointment as a Non-Executive Director was approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria effective April 20, 2017. Diamond Bank is currently in a business combination deal with Access Bank Plc

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Access Bank Acquires Diamond Bank

Access Bank has finally acquired Diamond Bank.

According to insiders, the official announcement of the transaction will be made in the course of the week by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The acquisition was midwifed by the CBN in a bid to further consolidate the banking industry, sources informed TheCable.

A Diamond Bank official who spoke to TheCable said there was no need for the public to panic as “the bank is in safe hands”.

Journey to acquisition

Last week, Diamond Bank announced its decision to drop its international operating licence to focus on national operations following capitalisation issues.

Uzoma Dozie, the bank’s chief executive officer, had confirmed in a statement released on Friday that it would cease to operate as an international bank.

“The re-licensing as a national bank supports Diamond Bank’s objective of streamlining its operations to focus resources on the significant opportunities in the Nigerian retail banking market, and the economy as a whole,” he had said in a statement.

“The move follows Diamond Bank’s decision to sell its international operations, which included the disposal of its West African Subsidiary in 2017 and Diamond Bank UK, the sale of which is currently in its final stages.

“The change to national bank status also enables the bank to maintain a lower minimum capital requirement of 10 per cent, as against 15 per cent required for international banks.”

The bank recorded its worst month on record in November with share plunging to 0.61k per unit on November 30, 2018.

Diamond Bank Q3 2018 report had showed that the bank was under some financial stress with profit after tax falling from N3.9 billion in 2017 to N1.6 billion.

This impacted the bank’s earnings per share, which also dropped sharply from N17 in 2017 to N7 in 2018.

CBN’s N250 million fine

Apart from dealing with non-performing loans, the bank also had to contend with a fine from the Central Bank of Nigeria in August for allegedly aiding MTN Nigeria to illegally repatriate $8.1 billion.

“Your bank issued three CCIs in favour of Dantata Investment for the sum of $5million without converting the foreign exchange received into Naira as required by our regulations.  On the basis of these illegally issued CCIs, your bank repatriated the sum of $102,545,336.77 in respect of these CCIs,” CBN’s letter read.

Your bank failed to indemnify SCB for losses and/or liabilities that may arise from the use of the CCIs you transferred to SCB in violation of the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Manual 2006;

Your bank issued three CCIs outside the regulatory 24 hours without the approval of the CBN contrary to provisions of Memorandum 22 of the Foreign Exchange Manual 2006; and

Your bank illegally remitted the sum of $352,222,358.39 on behalf of Standard Chartered Bank and Stanbic IBTC Bank in respect of the various CCIs issued to MTN Nigeria Communications Limited.

Chairman, director make their exit

In October, Oluwaseyi Bickerseth, the bank’s chairman who was appointed in July, and three non-executive directors resigned.

“The directors are resigning for varied personal reasons, which will include focusing on their priorities. Diamond Bank will update the market with any further development in due course,” a notice signed by Uzoma Uja, the company secretary, read.

S&P downgrades bank’s rating

In November, S&P Global Ratings downgraded the bank’s rating to CCC+/C from ‘B-/B’ and its Nigeria national scale ratings to ‘ngBB-/ngB’ from ‘ngBBB-/ngA-3.

Giving its reason, the agency said the bank is “dependent on favourable business, financial, and economic conditions to meet its financial obligations”.

“We believe that Diamond Bank will have to set aside higher provisions than we initially expected, following the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standard No. 9 (IFRS 9), which implies weaker asset quality than we expected and exerts significant pressure on the bank’s capitalization,” it said.


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Angry Mob Set Banks Ablaze In Lagos After Police Officer Killed Tanker Driver

Violence broke out in the Apapa area of Lagos, on Wednesday after a Mobile Police officer attached to Sterling Bank in Apapa, was alleged to have shot dead a tanker driver.

The tanker driver had indiscriminately parked in front of the bank which led to an argument the between the policeman and the driver. The Police officer then reportedly shot the tanker driver leading to his death.

Following the killing of the driver, an angry mob gathered seeking vengeance on the trigger happy officer who ran into the bank for safety.

Angered by the bank’s refusal to provide the officer, the driver’s colleagues set the bank ablaze destroying properties and other valuables, Punch reported.

Presently, the mob had torched Diamond and Sterling Banks in the axis in retaliation of the killing of their colleague.

The development led to banks in Apapa to shut down and also evacuate their personnel from the axis.

It was further gathered that the mobile police officer escaped into CMA premises (a shipping company beside the bank) office before the rescue team eventually arrived the scene.

Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports have it that three tanker drivers died in the process leading to the riot by their colleagues.

Presently, normalcy is gradually returning to the axis following the mobilization of security operatives to the area.

Policemen from Rapid Response Squad (RRS), Anti-riot squad and Area B command, as well as operatives from the Nigerian Navy Ship BEECEOFT have been deployed to the scene of the incident, InsideMainland reliably gathered.

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