Access Bank acquires majority stake in Botswana bank

Access Bank Plc, which in March splashed $60 million to acquire the controlling stake in Grobank of South Africa, is poised to consolidate  its presence in the region with the acquisition of Botswana’s African Banking Corporation (BancABC Botswana).

The bank hopes to earn 30 per cent of profit for this year from outside its base Nigeria, and also break into eight countries in Africa, from Morocco to Angola, that have been marked down as markets of significant promise.

An agreement is already signed and sealed for Access Bank to acquire more than 78 per cent of the Botswana bank shares, held by Atlas Mara, a financial services group based in British Virgin Islands, in a transaction to be completed by June, Nigeria’s biggest bank by asset told the Nigerian Exchange Limited Monday. Atlas Mara owns the biggest stake in Union Bank of Nigeria Plc.

“BancABC Botswana is the fifth largest Bank in Botswana and is a very well-capitalised banking institution poised for growth and success in its local market,” Access Bank said.

“The bank has been perennially profitable, given an existing high-quality retail loan book with opportunities and scope for diversification and further expansion into corporate and SME lending.”

Access Bank has been stepping up plans to be a key player in retail banking to complement its core strength in the corporate segment of the industry since its strategic acquisition of Diamond Bank in 2019, riding on the latter’s sweeping digital innovations to gain traction in the retail sector.

It said it would count on the uptake of digital banking in Botswana to deepen financial inclusion in the Southern African country.

“The establishment of Access Bank through this acquisition in the Republic of Botswana will position the bank to deliver a more complete set of banking solutions to its clients active in across the SADC and COMESA regions,” said Herbert Wigwe, Access Bank group managing director.

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