West Africa: First Bank acquires Switzerland’s ICB’s assets

Nigeria’s biggest lender by total assets, First Bank has completed the acquisition of the West African operations of Switzerland’s International Commercial Bank Financial Group Holdings, in a deal to help expand its international presence.

It has said in a statement that the deal would grow its balance sheet by 1.32%, adding that ICB’s West African operations has 28 branches, of which 17 are in Ghana, five in Guinea and two in Sierra Leone.

Head of international banking, Christiana Fashogbon said that the First Bank had financed the acquisition from its own resources and had paid a multiple of 1.45 times 2013 book value to acquire the assets.

The acquisition increases First Bank’s presence to 10 countries, including the United Kingdom and France, from six.

“We believe in our regional growth plans as we expand across sub-Saharan Africa. The acquisition enables us diversify our revenue profile, profitability and country-specific risk,” Fashogbon said.

Nigerian lenders are expanding across the continent, after recovering from a 2009 financial crisis which nearly sank nine of them and triggered a central bank bailout.


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