Diamond Bank Pulls Out N22bn Investment In Francophone W/African Countries

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BY Kayode Tokede, Lagos

Diamond Bank Plc has agreed to sell its operations in Benin, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal to Manzi Finances S.A., a Cote d’Ivoire-based financial services holding company.

The bank announced plans to divest its Francophone West African business to Manzi Finances S.A for €61million.

Regulatory approvals have been obtained in all jurisdictions for the transaction, which is anticipated to close before December 31, 2017.

The bank in a statement to The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) said, “We wish to notify the Exchange and investing public that Diamond Bank Plc is in the final stages of divesting its 97.07per cent equity stake in Diamond Bank S.A.

“The proposed divestment is part of the bank’s plan to align its business operations to its long-term goal of capitalizing on the significant opportunities in the Nigerian market. In August 2017, Diamond Bank executed a Share Sale and Purchase Agreement with Manzi Finances S.A (“Manzi Finances“), a financial services holding company based in Cote d’Ivoire.

“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 per cent of outstanding shares in Diamond SA, for €61 million. Regulatory approvals have been obtained in all jurisdictions for the transaction.”

The statement further noted: “Further to the provisions of Rule 17 (The Nigerian Stock Exchange’s (“The NSE’s”) Rules) and Rule 187 (the Securities & Exchange Commission Rules & Regulations), which require the disclosure of material non-public information to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (“NSE”), we hereby notify the NSE of the Transaction; in view of the potential effect of the Transaction on the securities of the Bank listed on the NSE.”

Speaking on the transaction, Diamond Bank’s CEO Uzoma Dozie said, “After 18 years of building the Diamond Bank franchise in other markets in West Africa, the time has come to fully apply our resources to Nigeria.

“This is aligned with Diamond Bank’s strategic objective: to be the fastest growing and most profitable technology-driven retail banking franchise in Nigeria.”