Bloomberg News

FirstRand Ends Talks on Stake in Sterling Bank of Nigeria

June 03, 2011

(Updates with shares in fourth paragraph.)

June 3 (Bloomberg) -- FirstRand Ltd., South Africa’s second-biggest financial-services company, ended talks about acquiring a majority stake in Nigeria’s Sterling Bank Plc.

“The parties have been unable to agree mutually acceptable terms,” Johannesburg-based FirstRand said in a stock exchange filing today. The bank will “continue to evaluate options regarding the company’s entry into Nigeria,” which offers “strong underlying growth prospects” in the financial industry, FirstRand said.

FirstRand said on April 14 that it was planning to acquire a stake in Sterling Bank. The company has been considering opportunities in Nigeria since 2009, when the country’s central bank invited bids for healthy and distressed lenders after 10 banks failed an audit and asset prices fell.

Sterling Bank slumped by the maximum daily limit of 5 percent to 1.90 naira as of 1:45 p.m. in Lagos trading, heading for the lowest close since Oct. 29. FirstRand fell 2 percent to 19.77 rand at 2:46 p.m. in Johannesburg.

Sam Moss, FirstRand’s head of investor relations, didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment left at the office and on her mobile phone.

FirstRand, led by Chief Executive Officer Sizwe Nxasana, said on Dec. 2 that it plans to enter Nigeria, Tanzania, Angola, Ghana and Kenya.

--Editors: Christiane Lenzner, Vernon Wessels

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Kay in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gavin Serkin at

Toyota's Hydrogen Man
blog comments powered by Disqus