- we prefer Nigerian investor to foreign investor
By Chioma Obinagwam
There are indications that the approval sought by Access Bank from its shareholders and that of Diamond Bank at today’s (March 5, 2019) Extra-ordinary General Meeting (EGM) will be granted.
Confiance News gathered that a significant number of shareholders prefer the Access-Diamond Bank merger rather than having the company being taken over by the government like the recent case of Skye Bank.
For instance, shareholders who spoke under the aegis of Constance Shareholders Association of Nigeria said that although a significant amount of their shares will be dilluted, the aquisition of the bank by Access Bank is a better option than being taken over by the government.
In a telephone conversation, Chairman of the association, Mikhail Shehu said, “I sensed this earlier. Later, when it was announced, I said it is better than closing chapter. It is better than losing the entire shares of Diamond Bank.”
“We the shareholders of the bank need to know why Access Bank is acquiring Diamond Bank? What benefit it is to shareholders? Whether they have considered the effects of all the bad loans? Actually, we are shareholders of Access Bank as well as Diamond Bank.”
The shareholders disclosed that they thought the acquisition was to be done by a foreign investor, like in most cases in the past but were happy to learn that Diamond Bank is being acquired by a Nigerian Company- Access Bank.
“I prefer a Nigerian investor taking over the bank. Foreign investors hardly care about the Nigerian shareholders; they’re only interested in the money they want to make,” Shehu pointed.
Corroborating, shareholders under the platform of Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN) also noted that it was better for them to merge with Access Bank than to lose their entire investments.
Chairman of PSAN, Boniface Okezie also via a telephone conversation said, “We shareholders would want to know, how did they arrive at that decision? Then, we will make our input. For me, I consider it the best option than losing the entire investment. If you talk of Access Bank, they acquired Intercontinental Bank and we the shareholders of Intercontinental Bank had the best deal at that time.”
Moreover, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe disclosed that the merger with Diamond Bank will catalyse the objective of Access Bank for customers in addition to small and medium enterprises. Adding that the experience of Diamond Bank in the retail sector and role in the financial inclusion process will aid Access Bank in its 5-year plan to grow its retail business.
Having completed other processes of the acquisition, which includes approval in principle from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the final hurdle remains the shareholders’ approval.
If the consent of the shareholders is finally gotten at today’s EGM, history will be made in the banking industry as Access Bank will emerge the largest banking institution in Nigeria, and on the African continent, with a large customer base equated to the size of a country.
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