After weeks of speculation, Diamond and Access Banks announced a merger to create the largest bank in Nigeria.
It was reported that the Diamond Bank spurned offers to inject critical capital from US private equity firm, Carlyle that was a key shareholder in the bank and sought other deals, and the statement points to a competitive process out of which Diamond selected Access Bank.
According to an FT report, the deal values Diamond at just over $200 million and would create Nigeria’s biggest bank by both deposits and assets and that the merged entities would have 650 branches and 6,800 that would see some savings through redundancies.
Access will acquire Diamond through a combination of cash and shares with Diamond shareholders receiving Naira 3.13 per share, comprising N1.00 per share in cash and the allotment of 2 new Access Bank ordinary shares for every 7 Diamond Bank ordinary shares held.
The merger will result in the end of Diamond Bank with listings of its shares cancelled at the Nigeria Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange when the merger is completed in the first half of 2019. Access is listed in Nigeria, while Diamond was also caught up in the Nigeria vs. MTN forex case.
The Banker Magazine ranked five Nigerian banks among 1,000 top global banks with Zenith, Guaranty Trust, FirstBank, Access Bank and United Bank for Africa featuring. Another ranking of the top banks in Nigeria in 2017 listed Nigeria Zenith, Guaranty Trust, First Bank of Nigeria, Ecobank Nigeria, Access Bank, United Bank for Africa, Diamond Bank, Union Bank of Nigeria, and Fidelity Bank. The banks with a presence in Kenya are Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank), Ecobank and United Bank for Africa (UBA).
edit March 2019 Approvals: The merger decision was approved by 98% of Access Bank shareholders, while at Diamond Bank it got 100% (99.98%) approval. Also, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Securities and Exchange Commission have approved for the combined businesses to start business on April 1, 2019, as a Pan-African bank operating in 12 countries, 3 continents. The combined banks (Access had 11.8% market share and Diamond 4%) will have 15.9% making it largest Nigerian bank ahead of Zenith (14.6%), FBN (13.9%) and UBA (11.7%)
Digital banking: The new bank has been hailed by the deal backers as creating Africa biggest retail bank by customer base (29 million) with 677 branches, and 3,100 ATM’s. On the digital side, Access had 3 million customers compared to Diamond’s 10 million online banking customers and Access will incorporate elements of Diamond’s banking services such as XclusivePlus, DiamondXtra and Pay Day loans.
No new capital: Post-deal ownership of the bank will comprise 81% Access shareholders and 19% Diamond shareholders. Access was expecting to proceed to raise Naira 75 billion ($207 million) of capital and had got approval for a rights issue to happen in the first half of 2019, but they will no longer pursue this avenue as they have identified 150 billion Naira in revenue and cost synergies to be tapped over the next three years.