Attijariwafa bank group has submitted an offer to acquire 49.97% stake in Lagos-based Union Bank of Nigeria Plc and the sixth largest bank in Nigeria by market value, according to Bloomberg.
The Attijariwafa bank group is part of the list of financial institutions in Africa and the Middle East which have expressed an interest in acquiring 49.97% of Atlas Mara’s shares in Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN) Plc, as well than other African assets of the British Virgin Islands-based financial services group. Bloomberg, who made the revelation, cited sources familiar with the matter.
The leading Moroccan banking group is thus among the contenders alongside other rival African institutions such as Zenith Bank Plc and Access Bank of Nigeria. Discussions are ongoing between the various parties, but no details have been released yet. Attijariwafa Bank CEO Ismail Douiri and a representative from Access Bank declined to comment on their interest in the deal, the agency reports, adding that some potential suitors are also candidates to acquire all of Atlas’s remaining assets of Mara in Africa, which would include its bank in Zimbabwe.
For attijariwafa bank, the Union Bank of Nigeria could prove to be a great opportunity to strengthen its continental network, especially as it would allow it to penetrate into the most populous country in Africa.
In a statement, the London Stock Exchange-listed Atlas Mara Group said it has obtained regulatory approval for sales of its businesses in Botswana and Mozambique.
It must be said that for a year and a half, Atlas Mara, the commercial bank founded in 2013 which counted on a drastic restructuring of the banking landscape in sub-Saharan Africa, has finally revised its ambitions after having contracted large debts to finance its expansion in seven countries. The company, whose administrative headquarters are in Dubai, has thus resigned itself to withdrawing from four countries in a single transaction, swapping subsidiaries for a stake of less than 7% in the capital of the Kenyan Equity Bank. During this operation, Atlas Mara sold to Kenya its 62% of the capital of the Banque Populaire du Rwanda, as well as 100% of the capital of the African Banking Corporation (which has three subsidiaries, in Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia).