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Nigerian bank takes major stake in BancABC Botswana

MBONGENI MGUNI
New pathways: Bannalotlhe says the Access Bank deal provides new opportunities for BancABC Botswana
Major Nigerian financier, Access Bank, is set to be BancABC Botswana’s major shareholder, after moving to snap up the 78% equity held by ABC Holdings, it has been learnt.

Atlas Mara, the controlling shareholder in ABC Holdings, said the offer for the 78% represented 1.13 times the book value of the stake in BancABC Botswana. As at December 2020, BancABC’s total book value was estimated at about P1.2 billion.

Officials said the settlement amount included a deferred portion payable 24 months after closing of the transaction, subject to certain conditions. The transaction is expected to conclude in the second quarter of 2021, “assuming all relevant approvals are received by then”.

The latest developments come a week after Norsad Finance, a regional financier, filed suit in the Lobatse High Court looking to put ABC Holdings into provisional liquidation over a US$10 million (P110 million) debt. ABC Holdings officials last week told Mmegi the group was negotiating with Norsad but would also defend the lawsuit. 

Today, BancABC Botswana managing director, Kgotso Bannalotlhe said the takeover by Access Bank represented an opportunity for the local bank to be part of one of the largest banking groups in Africa. He said the BancABC Botswana would benefit from Access Bank’s strong corporate banking franchise, digital banking capabilities, innovative product offering, as well as trade finance and

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international banking in the region. 

“I want to assure our clients that the safety of their accounts, the stability of banking operations, and high-quality customer service will remain our top priorities during the transition,” he said. 

For his part, Atlas Mara executive chairman, Michael Wilkerson said BancABC Botswana had achieved a great deal since Atlas Mara’s initial investment, including in digital adoption and in growing a high-quality retail operation.

“Management have shown strong resilience and further innovation during the pandemic-related economic slowdown of 2020, and we thank the team for their hard work.

“By combining with Access Bank’s infrastructure, including its digital offerings and its corporate and SME capabilities, the bank will be well positioned to continue the positive trajectory and succeed in the macroeconomic recovery to come.”

Access Bank is among the continent’s success stories in the banking sector, with more than 40 million customers and assets of US$18 billion (P198 billion) as at 2019.

BancABC Botswana, meanwhile, is among star performers in ABC Holdings portfolio, posting P125 million in pretax profits for the year ended December 31, 2020. The local bank’s loan book was measured at P6 billion during that period.



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