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Ecobank Seek Oceanic Merger Approval

Ecobank said on Monday they would seek shareholders’ approval on Dec. 22 to merge its operations with rival Oceanic Bank, after Ecobank’s parent firm ETI acquired 100 percent of Oceanic in September.

It said shareholders in the enlarged Ecobank would get 1 share in ETI for every 5.16 Ecobank shares owned. Pan-African lender ETI would then own the merged entity and Ecobank would subsequently delist from the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

Oceanic, one of nine banks rescued in a central bank bailout in 2009, has already been delisted.

The merger is subject to regulatory approval, Ecobank said in a notice to shareholders.

ETI’s chief executive Arnold Ekpe told Reuters last week that ETI would complete merging the operations of its Nigerian unit with Oceanic by the end of 2012 and that the legal merger would be completed this year.

Ekpe said the merger had seen Ecobank climb to become the fifth-biggest lender in Africa’s most populous nation, from fourteenth a year ago.

ETI said on Thursday it had obtained a $285 million loan from South Africa’s Nedbank to support its acquisition of Oceanic. Nedbank will be able to convert the loan into 20 percent equity in Ecobank in 24 to 36 months, it said.

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