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Access Bank wants to acquire StanChart's Sub-Saharan Africa subsidiaries

Access Bank has completed talks for the acquisition of Standard Chartered Bank's subsidiaries in Africa. The deal is pending regulatory approval and will be completed in 2024.

Access Bank wants to acquire StanChart's Sub-Saharan Africa subsidiaries
Access Bank is the biggest bank in Nigeria based on assets

Standard Chartered Bank (StanChart) has agreed to sell its sub-Saharan Africa subsidiaries to Access Bank, according to Reuters. The Bank says it will sell its shares in Angola, Cameroon, Gambia and Sierra Leone, and its consumer, private & business banking business in Tanzania.

“Access Bank will provide a full range of banking services and continuity for key stakeholders including employees and clients of Standard Chartered’s businesses across the five aforementioned countries,” says StanChart, as cited by Reuters. “The agreement is in line with Standard Chartered’s global strategy aimed at achieving operational efficiencies, reducing complexity, and driving scale.”

The acquisition is pending regulatory approval in the aforementioned countries and in Nigeria, where Access Bank is headquartered, it is expected to be closed next year. The deal does not include StanChart subsidiaries in Nigeria.

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In 2022, StanChart closed down about half of its Nigerian branches in a pivot to digital banking. At the time, it disclosed that it will operate only 13 branches across Nigeria, down from about 25 previously.

“In anticipation of the completion of the transaction the Bank has made excellent progress in integration planning. We plan to leverage our expansive distribution network, best-in-class technology, risk and governance practices to serve high-growth businesses and the rising consumer sector in Angola,” according to Herbert Wigwe, Access Group CEO.

With this acquisition, Access Bank will definitely experience growth, cementing its position as the top biggest in Nigeria by assets, with ₦15 trillion worth of assets. Yesterday, the bank announced that it has completed the acquisition of Angolan entity, Finibanco Angola S.A., after receiveing regulatory approvals in Nigeria and Angola, the deal was first announced in October 2022.

The deal, a way out for StanChart

“This strategic decision allows us to redirect resources within the AME region to other areas with significant growth potential,” says Sunil Kaushal, Standard Chartered's regional CEO for Africa and Middle East.

Recall that last year, StanChart disclosed that it is exiting seven countries in Africa and the Middle East where it is sub-scale as it seeks to improve profits by narrowing its focus to faster-growing markets in the region. At the time, the bank will fully exit Angola, Cameroon, Gambia, Jordan, Lebanon, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe, by selling its business in the market—the plan which is now underway.

It will also close its retail banking operations in Tanzania and Ivory Coast to focus solely on corporate banking. Until April 2022, StanChart operated in 15 African markets and 10 in the Middle East, however, its operation cost resulted to a comparatively high cost to income ratio of 74%, according to Citi analyst Yafei Tian.

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