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Shareholders Tackle Enterprise Bank’s Proposed Sale

 

By the second quarter of this year, the successful bidder for Enterprise Bank fomerly Spring Bank will have taken over assets and liabilities of the Bank, which has over one hundred and fifty branches nationwide with equity of #31.9 billion and over 150 Automated Teller Machines, ATMs. The bank is one the three banks that was nationalised by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2011. Asset Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON, a parastal established by government to hold the non-performing assets of banks including that of Keystone (BankPHB) and Mainstreet (Afribank). Vertiva Capital and Citygroup were appointed last year by Mustapha Chike Obi led AMCON to manage it’s divestment from these distressed banks. However, accusing fingers are pointing at Obi that undue advantage is being given to Mainstreet and Keystone, according to a shareholder in the bank who prefer anonymous said, “why is AMCON reserving Mainstreet and Keystone since they were nationalised the sameday, the sale should also be done at the same time. Powers that be are putting pressures on AMCON to sell both banks to FirstRand, a South African financial institution”. Sir Sunny Nwosu, president of Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, ISAN, and his other colleagues say they have some reservations based on the transactions. A source in the Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, (PSAN), said they are watching the process of selling the bank, because they don’t have absolute trust in the transaction. He said, “there lies our interest and investments many of us use our live savings to buy shares in this bank, so it’s natural for us if we are being skeptical about the planned sale”. However, there appears to be a new twist in the process as the former owners of the six legacy banks that made up the defunct Spring bank are scheming to win the bidding process, they want to acquire back 100% stake in the bank. A source in the bank said part of the strategies adopted by these investors is the use of private equity firms with international clouts as fronts. The banks merged to become Spring Bank were ACB International Bank, Citizen International Bank, Omega Bank, Fountain Bank, Guardian Express Bank and Trans International Bank. However, not minding the resource giving to both shareholders and staff, by both AMCON and management of the bank, back of trust and suspicion is still in the air.

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