The board of Diamond Bank Plc, at the weekend, informed the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) that it has received regulatory approvals to divest its 97.07% stake in Diamond Bank S.A., as part of plans to concentrate on harnessing the vast opportunities available back home in the Nigerian market.
In a statement to the NSE by Uzoma Uja, its company secretary, the bank said the transaction, worth €61m (about N25bn), executed in August via a Share Sale and Purchase Agreement with Manzi Finances S.A, a financial services holding company based in Cote d’Ivoire, has received the blessing of the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), as well as the BRVM region.
The deal, billed to close before year-end, affects the bank’s operations in Benin, Togo, Cote d‘Ivoire and Senegal.
“As part of the terms and conditions that will govern the divestment, the bank will dispose its entire 1,985,000 shares, which translates to 97.07% of outstanding shares in Diamond SA, for €61 million,” the statement added.
The disclosure, it added, is in line with provisions of Rule 17 of the NSE and 187 of SEC Nigeria regarding the disclosure of material non-public information to the NSE and in view of the potential effect of the transaction on the securities of the bank listed on the bourse.
“Diamond Bank’s strategic objective is to be the fastest growing and most profitable technology driven retail banking franchise in Nigeria. This strategic intent requires the bank to optimize the use of its resources, which means, where necessary, divesting from its non-core assets, and focusing on the priority area, namely Nigerian retail banking.”
For emphasis, the bank said it would rather grow its over 15 million customer base, many of who are owning bank accounts for the first time in a Nigerian market that has vast potentials, due to its strong fundamentals, including the huge population of underbanked or unbanked, as well as “the changing lifestyles that favour the use of mobile devices to complete multiple transactions via digital and technology platforms and consumer convenience.”
This resolve, it continued, is further driven by the nation’s significant economic potential, helped by an entrepreneurial spirit and a growing culture of innovation.
By harnessing technology and fostering a digitally led approach, the statement continued, “the bank has a framework in Nigeria that allows it to scale rapidly and efficiently.
While assuring that the decision stands to benefit stakeholders in the immediate, medium to long-term, the statement further stressed that “these capabilities will have further positive impact on the overall development of the financial system and the Nigerian economy in general.”