Bloomberg News

Sterling Nigeria Shareholders Approve Takeover of Equitorial

September 28, 2011

(Updates with Sterling chairman’s comment in second paragraph, Equitorial approval in third.)

Sept. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Sterling Bank Plc of Nigeria’s shareholders approved the lender’s plan to acquire Equitorial Trust Bank Plc, which was bailed out by the central bank in 2009 following a debt crisis.

“With the approval, Sterling Bank will take over all assets and liabilities of Equitorial,” Suleiman Adegunwa, chairman of Sterling, told reporters today in Lagos, the commercial capital.

Equitorial Trust shareholders also approved the takeover at a separate meeting in Lagos today, Adewale Sangowawa, chairman of the bank, told reporters. The Lagos-based lender was one of eight banks bailed out by the central bank two years ago with the injection of 620 billion naira ($4 billion) after a debt crisis that put the banking industry on the verge of collapse. Regulators gave the lenders until Sept. 30 to recapitalize.

Three of them, Afribank Plc, Bank PHB Plc and Spring Bank Plc were nationalized by the government on Aug. 5 after they were deemed unlikely to meet the recapitalization deadline.

Sterling Bank shares fell to the lowest in more than a year in Lagos, losing 5 percent, or 6 kobo, to close at 1.15 naira. The stock has plunged 50 percent this year, outpacing the 19 percent decline in the Nigerian Stock Exchange All-Share Index.

--Editors: Dulue Mbachu, Emily Bowers,

To contact the reporter on this story: Emele Onu in Lagos at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dulue Mbachu at

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