Access Bank Brings Diamond Takeover Forward by Two Months

(Bloomberg) -- Access Bank Plc, which plans to buy Diamond Bank Plc to become Africa’s largest retail lender by customers, said it will conclude the transaction about two months earlier than initially expected.

The deal, which was set to close in June, will be completed in the second quarter, the Lagos-based lender said on Thursday. Access Bank also canceled a planned 75 billion naira ($207 million) rights issue as it’s no longer needed to meet the central bank’s minimum capital thresholds, Chief Executive Officer Herbert Wigwe said on an investor call.

Access Bank agreed last year to buy Carlyle-backed Diamond Bank in a deal worth about $200 million. It said last week it obtained “approval-in-principle” from Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission and the Central Bank of Nigeria to proceed with the merger.

By the conclusion of the deal, Access’s assets could swell to about $17 billion from $12.5 billion, according to Bloomberg calculations. Zenith Bank Plc is currently the largest Nigerian lender, with $15.4 billion of assets.

Access Bank’s shares rose 6.2 percent to 6 naira at close of trading in Lagos, while Diamond Bank climbed 0.5 percent to 2.10 naira.

Shareholders will vote on the transaction on March 5.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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