Bloomberg News

Nigeria in Process of Selling State-Owned Banks, Sanusi Says

February 15, 2012

(Updates with comment from Sanusi in second paragraph.)

Feb. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Nigeria is in the process of selling the commercial lenders that it took over last year amid efforts to stabilize the country’s banking industry following a lending crisis, said central bank Governor Lamido Sanusi.

The state-owned Asset Management Corp. of Nigeria “will soon appoint local and international advisers for the sale, which will eventually lead to negotiations with the buyers,” Sanusi said at a conference today in Lagos, the commercial capital.

Nigeria’s government took over three lenders in August after they were deemed unable to meet the Central Bank of Nigeria’s recapitalization deadline following a 2009 lending crisis that threatened some banks in West Africa’s biggest economy.

The Abuja-based central bank fired the heads of eight of Nigeria’s 24 lenders and bailed out the industry with 620 billion naira ($3.9 billion). The management corporation, known as Amcon, was set up to stabilize the industry and buy non- performing debt.

By the Sept. 30 recapitalization deadline, the taken over lenders, Afribank Plc, Bank PHB Plc and Spring Bank Plc, “were fully capitalized and attracted a couple of bidders,” Sanusi said. “Investors preferred to deal with the institutions as nationalized banks.”

While the central bank is not directly involved in the sale of the banks, Sanusi said they are “expecting a smooth process, with the exercise lasting as the capital market will decide.”

--Editors: Emily Bowers, Karl Maier

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Emily Bowers at ebowers1@bloomberg.net


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