The Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) has announced that it will appoint financial advisers by June 15 to manage the sale of Mainstreet Bank, Enterprise Bank and Keystone Bank.
The three banks were nationalised in 2011 following mismanagement of bad loans and recapitalised by AMCON.
AMCON’s Chief Executive Officer, Mustapha Chike-Obi, made this known on Thursday in an interview where he revealed plans to sell 100 percent of each of the bank.
He however added that AMCON is yet to decide on the best way to proceed.
“We have advertised for a financial adviser who will take charge of the process” said Chike-Obi.
He said the advisers would solicit expressions of interest from prospective investors.
Mr Chike-Obi said he expected strong interest in the three banks from local and foreign institutions, pointing out that South Africa’s leading bank, FirstRand, had informed AMCON of an interest in acquiring Keystone bank.
FirstRand CEO Sizwe Nxasana told Reuters last week that the South African lender was keen on buying either Keystone or Mainstreet.
Skye Bank is also expected to bid for one of the three banks, depending on valuations, its CEO Kehinde Durosimi-Etti told a shareholder meeting last week, where management sought approval to raise N50 billion.
AMCON said last week it expected to complete the sales by the third quarter of 2014.
South Africa’s FirstRand will use Thursday’s launch of its new merchant banking business in Nigeria as a springboard to move into retail and commercial lending in Africa’s second biggest economy, the bank’s chief said.
South Africa’s number two lender won Nigeria’s first merchant banking license in more than a decade last November and opened its doors in Lagos on Thursday.
Now it wants to expand its operations in Nigeria, organically or through an acquisition, First Rand Chief Executive Sizwe Nxasana told Reuters in Lagos during the launch of Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) Nigeria.
“We are looking at having a universal banking operation in Nigeria … growing on the back of our investment banking operations into the retail and commercial banking,” he said.
“Our appetite for Nigeria is growing and we are going to be looking at opportunities that will put us in a position where we are becoming a seeded player … in other words among the top five banks in Nigeria in the next few years.”
FirstRand has been looking for an entry into Africa’s most populous country for years. It ended talks last year to buy a majority stake in Nigeria’s Sterling Bank after they both failed to agree on price.
Nxasana said FirstRand was still interested in acquiring one of the three banks, Mainstreet Bank, Keystone Bank and Enterprise Bank that were nationalised two years ago, but could also enter retail operations on its own.
FirstRand in November had said it could spend more than $300 million to buy a retail and commercial bank in Nigeria.