Bloomberg News

First Bank of Nigeria to Acquire Banks in 3 Countries

July 28, 2011

(Updates with CFO’s comment in second paragraph.)

July 28 (Bloomberg) -- First Bank Plc, Nigeria’s third- biggest lender by market value, plans to acquire banks in three African countries before the end of next year, Chief Financial Officer Bayo Adelabu said.

“We are about to close the deal on one of the target banks,” Adelabu said in an interview today in Lagos, the commercial capital, without naming the banks or the countries. “We will buy majority or total stakes in medium-sized banks” in the chosen countries.

The lender is also planning to sell Eurobonds to refinance maturing debt, with the amount and date of issue yet to be determined, he said.

Under a new licensing rule introduced by regulators, First Bank adopted the holding company structure, aiming to expand across 10 sub-Saharan African countries while divesting its record-keeping business and non-core real estate assets, it said.

First Bank wasn’t seeking acquisitions in Nigeria after a failed attempt to buy Oceanic Bank International Plc, one of eight banks bailed out by the Central Bank of Nigeria in 2009, Adelabu said.

--Editors: Gordon Bell, Philip Sanders

To contact the reporter on this story: Emele Onu in Lagos at eonu1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dulue Mbachu at dmbachu@bloomberg.net


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