Market access

Access Bank is committed to creating market access for small businesses

By Dipo Olowookere

Nigerian lender Access Bank Plc is offering to acquire Kenya’s Sidian Bank Limited for 15 billion naira ($37 million). The proceeds are intended to purchase the 83.4% stake of Centum Investment Plc, a leading East African investment company listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange and the Uganda Stock Exchange, in the bank.

According to Access Bank Managing Director, Mr. Roosevelt Ogbonna, “This transaction builds on our earlier acquisition of the former Transnational Bank Plc (now Access Bank Kenya) and underscores our determination to strengthen our presence in Kenya, a key African market that matches our strategic focus for geographic earnings growth and diversification.

“The acquisition and subsequent planned merger will create a strong and competitive balance sheet for Access Bank Kenya, positioning us to be well placed to promote regional trade finance and other cross-border banking services in the East African Community. East (EAC) and the wider COMESA region.

“The proposed combination with Access Bank Kenya would undoubtedly propel Access Bank into a strong competitor in the Kenyan market with an enhanced ability to play a more impactful role in growing its economy while delivering increased profitability to our shareholders,” said he added.

For his part, Group CEO Access Holdings Plc, the parent company of Access Bank, Mr Herbert Wigwe, said the deal “represents the relentless focus and execution of our strategic objectives within our banking subsidiary , although we are expanding the other businesses within Access Corporation’s core segments.

“The acquisition of Sidian represents a significant increase in scale and potential for Access Bank in Kenya, which is East Africa’s largest market and trade corridor.

“The significant increase in scale and customer base provides us with tremendous opportunities to support growth in the various ecosystems being built in our commerce and payment businesses.

“The resulting economies of scale will continue to drive and improve contributions to all stakeholders,” he added.

In a notice issued announcing the proposed purchase, it was stated that the valuation was based on the Kenyan lender’s audited results for the first three months of this year. The deal is still subject to regulatory approvals in Nigeria and Kenya.