Access Bank to Restructure to a Holding Company and Expand into Southern Africa

Access Bank Plc is to restructure to a holding company.

The Central Bank of Nigeria has given its Approval-in-Principle for the restructuring and the proposed holding company will enable Access Bank to further accelerate its objectives around business diversification, improved operational efficiencies, talent retention as well as robust governance.

The Bank said in a statement in Lagos that details of the new structure will be provided in due course

The statement, signed by Access Bank’s Company Secretary, Mr. Sunday Ekwochi, also disclosed that the bank had reached definitive agreements to bolster its market position in Mozambique and enter the South African market. This development follows the recent deal with Cavmont Bank in Zambia and further embeds the Bank’s presence in the southern African region, which is one of Africa’s most important trading blocs.

The transactions will result in a more connected African banking network that builds on Access Bank’s existing foundation and enhances its value proposition to stakeholders, including customers and employees. Shareholders will benefit from the economies of scale of a larger banking network, including the associated cost efficiencies arising from the Bank’s federated IT system and replication of investments in innovative products across a wider range of markets.

Mr. Ekwochi said that a broader and connected Africa network remained a core strategic focus for geographic earnings growth and diversification, which will further enhance profitability and risk metrics. Through these transactions, Access Bank will be well placed to promote regional trade finance and other cross-border banking services, further leveraging its presence in key global trade corridors in the UAE, the UK, China, Lebanon and India.

For the Mozambique acquisition, Access Bank has already received regulatory approvals to commence operations in Mozambique under the name Access Bank Mozambique, S.A. (“Access Bank Mozambique”).

Access Bank Mozambique, has, following the approval, entered into agreement with ABC Holdings Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlas Mara Limited, to acquire African Banking Corporation (Moҫambique), S.A., for cash, in a combination of definitive and contingent consideration.

This transaction will be funded from the capital invested by the Bank in Access Bank Mozambique and will result in the Access Bank Mozambique becoming the 7th largest bank in that country, up from 20th. As an enlarged business, Access Bank Mozambique will have an enhanced capacity to play a more impactful role in the growth of the Mozambican economy, particularly in the emerging oil and gas sector, an industry that Access Bank has deep experience in. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and customary conditions precedent.

For its entry into South Africa, Access Bank has agreed with GroCapital Holdings to invest into Grobank Limited over two tranches. The first is an initial cash consideration for a 49% shareholding, increasing to a majority stake in the second tranche. Both tranches are subject to various regulatory approvals and the overall transaction subject to Grobank’s shareholder approvals.

The proposed transaction is expected to provide access to the largest banking market in Africa and enable Access Bank to consolidate its Southern African and broader African footprint with enhanced capabilities to fulfil the needs of multi-national clients.

Herbert Wigwe

Herbert Wigwe, Group MD/CEO of Access Bank said of these developments:

“We have consistently said that we are focused on building the scale needed to become a leading African bank; one that leverages our experienced and growing talent base and key stakeholder partnerships towards driving sustainable impact and profitability”.

He said that these transactions would significantly strengthen the bank’s presence in Southern Africa and further its growth in the SADC region, noting that with a broader presence across the continent, Access Bank will be better placed to support its customers who are increasingly looking towards intra Africa growth.


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