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Access Bank Plc Announces Strategic Update And Transactions In Furtherance Of Its Vision To Be Africa’s Gateway To The World

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Access Bank Plc (“Access Bank” or ‘’the Bank’’) announces today that it has received the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Approval-in-Principle for the Bank’s restructuring to a holding company (“HoldCo”).

The proposed HoldCo structure would enable the Bank to further accelerate its objectives around business diversification, improved operational efficiencies, talent retention as well as robust governance. Further details regarding the HoldCo structure will be communicated to the market in due course.

Access Bank also announces definitive agreements to bolster its market position in Mozambique and enter the South African market. This follows the recent transaction with Cavmont Bank in Zambia and further embeds the Bank’s presence in the SADC region, one of Africa’s most important trading blocs.

These transactions will result in a more connected African banking network that builds on Access Bank’s existing foundation and enhances its value proposition to stakeholders, including customers and employees. Shareholders will benefit from the economies of scale of a larger banking network, including the associated cost efficiencies arising from the Bank’s federated IT system and the replication of investments in innovative products across a wider range of markets.

A broader and connected Africa network remains a core strategic focus for geographic earnings growth and diversification, which will further enhance profitability and risk metrics. Through these transactions, Access Bank will be well placed to promote regional trade finance and other cross-border banking services, further leveraging its presence in key global trade corridors in the UAE, the UK, China, Lebanon, and India.

Strategic Entry and Acquisition in Mozambique

Access Bank announces that it has received regulatory approvals to commence operations in Mozambique under the name Access Bank Mozambique, S.A. (“Access Bank Mozambique”).

Access Bank also announces that its subsidiary, Access Bank Mozambique, has entered into a definitive agreement with ABC Holdings Limited (“ABC Holdings”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Atlas Mara Limited (“Atlas Mara”) to acquire African Banking Corporation (Moҫambique), S.A., (“BancABC Mozambique”) for cash, in a combination of definitive and contingent consideration.

This transaction will be funded from the capital invested by the Bank in Access Bank Mozambique and will result in the Access Bank Mozambique becoming the 7th largest bank in the country, up from the 20th. As an enlarged business, Access Bank Mozambique will have an enhanced capacity to play a more impactful role in the growth of the Mozambican economy, particularly in the emerging oil and gas sector, an industry that Access Bank has deep experience in.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and customary conditions precedent.

 

Strategic Investment in South Africa

Building on its strategy of delivering a robust banking operation that connects key African markets, Access Bank has entered into a definitive agreement with GroCapital Holdings (“GroCapital”) to invest in Grobank Limited over two tranches. The first is an initial cash consideration for a 49% shareholding, increasing to a majority stake in the second tranche. Both tranches are subject to various regulatory approvals and the overall transaction subject to Grobank’s shareholder approvals.

GroCapital, whose shareholders include the Public Investment Corporation – Africa’s largest investment manager, and Fairfax Africa Holdings – a leading global investor, will retain an existing but diluted shareholding in Grobank.

A presence in South Africa will serve as a cornerstone for further momentum in delivering on Access Bank’s mission to be Africa’s Gateway to the World. The proposed transaction is expected to provide access to the largest banking market in Africa and enable Access Bank to consolidate its Southern African and broader African footprint with enhanced capabilities to fulfill the needs of multi-national clients.

Speaking on these developments Herbert Wigwe, GMD/CEO Access Bank said:

We have consistently said that we are focused on building the scale needed to become a leading African bank; one that leverages our experienced and growing talent base and key stakeholder partnerships towards driving sustainable impact and profitability. Today’s announcement demonstrates further commitment to delivering our strategic aspirations of becoming Africa’s Gateway to the World in line with our vision to be the World’s Most Respected African Bank.

These transactions will significantly strengthen our presence in Southern Africa and further our footprint for growth in the SADC region. With a broader presence across the continent, Access Bank will be better placed to support our customers who are increasingly looking towards intra Africa growth. The proposed transactions will accelerate the Bank’s momentum towards delivering world-class banking services to an expanded customer base across Africa. Our goal remains to reach and impact 100 million unique customers across the continent.’’

 

 

SUNDAY EKWOCHI

COMPANY SECRETARY

FRC/2013/NBA/00000005528

BIG STORY

BREAKING: Third Mainland Bridge Opens Today

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The Third Mainland Bridge will be open for use by 12 noon today.

The minister of works, Babatunde Fashola disclosed this in a tweet on his official handle.

He said:

”Third mainland bridge rehab completed. Fully opens to traffic at 12noon today. Thank you all for your patience. Drive safely”

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JUST IN: DSS Arrests Ganduje’s Aide Hours After Criticizing Buhari, Nigerians Reacts [See Tweets]

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The Department of State Services has arrested Salihu Tanko Yakasai, a social media aide to Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State, barely hours after he criticized the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

Yakasai had in a series of tweets on Friday in reaction to Friday abduction of about 317 female students of Government Girls Secondary School in Jangebe, Zamfara State, said the kidnappings had become too frequent.

The governor’s aide had also said if it was under another President’s watch that the abductions had happened, there would have been more outrage in the North.

He tweeted, “Clearly, we as APC government, at all levels, have failed Nigerians in the number one duty we were elected to do which is to secure lives and properties. Not a single day goes by without some sort of insecurity in this land. This is a shame! Deal with terrorists decisively or resign.

“Just last week it was #freekagaraboys, today we have a new hashtag #RescueJangebeGirls, who knows tomorrow what hashtag we will come up with? Perhaps one for ourselves when we get caught up in one of these daring attacks.

“This is sad and heartbreaking, I feel helpless and hopeless. “I completely agree. Hypocrisy is in our DNA. Imagine what’s happening in the North now under GEJ or OBJ, what you will hear is he’s the enemy of the North and Muslims, but here we are, being ravaged by all sorts of insecurity but no collective rage, sai useless lamentations. SMDH.”

However, barely hours after Yakasai’s viral tweets, it was learnt that he suddenly disappeared even as friends and relations began to panic.

Confirming his arrest, one of Ganduje’s aides on Twitter, @sadeqhenry tweeted, “Alhamdulillahi we just confirmed @dawisu is at DSS office.”

Yakasai, who is the son of elder statesman, Tanko Yakasai, was suspended by Ganduje last year for criticizing the President. He was, however, reinstated soon after.

Nigerians, however, have taken to Twitter to register their displeasure with the arrest saying it is unnecessary, and also called for his release.

See tweets below:

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Fear Grips Lagos Community As Six Kids Go Missing In Idi Araba [PHOTOS]

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At least six children have been declared missing in Idi Araba, Mushin Local Government Area of Lagos State, as concerns over the safety of kids in the community grow on a daily basis.

The missing children are identified as Abdullahi Mohammed, Umairah Umar, Abubakar Sadiq, one Shittu, Abdullahi Olanrewaju, and Abdulahad Ibrahim, who disappeared on Wednesday, January 27.

According to City Round, the recurring disappearance suspected to be cases of abduction started about two years ago when four of the children went missing successively.

It was gathered that the children usually disappeared while playing with their mates within the vicinity, thereby throwing their parents into confusion.

“He was playing with his mates outside his grandma’s house on Garuba Musa Street that Wednesday,” Ibrahim’s mother, Hadiza, disclosed, her voice overwhelmed by grief.

“After the evening prayer, we couldn’t find him. We searched for him till 2 am. We have reported to the police,” she added, choking back tears.

The incident had left her husband, Abubakar, devastated too. His pale looks and hushed tones bore distress that has enveloped the family since Ibrahim suddenly disappeared.

Having reported the case at various police stations, including Itire, Alakara, and Area D, Mushin without any promising results in sight, the 37-year-old father said he had taken solace in God.

“We have been praying for his return,” he muttered. “We have faith in God that we will find him. It is a test on our faith and we hope he and other children will be found.”

Since Umar’s whereabouts became a mystery over six months ago, sorrow appears to have increasingly dominated the heart of Aisha, her mother.

The thought that Umar could emerge from any of the labyrinthine corners connecting their residence on Haruna Street is now a daily fantasy for the middle-aged woman and her husband.

“She got missing last year. I was inside while she was playing outside,” Aisha recalled bleakly. “It was not up to an hour when I decided to go out and check on her. Surprisingly, I could not find her. We have gone to all the police stations around us.”

Two years after Abdullahi’s disappearance, the heartache remains fresh in the minds of his parents. Even though they had got another baby after the sad incident, the joy of childbirth has not meant much to them without Abdullahi in their midst.

The father, Mohammed, 50, told our correspondent that the harrowing experience has impacted his health negatively.

He stated, “I have been living here close to 25 years. My son was four years old when he got missing. We went to the mosque together that afternoon and after prayers, we returned home and he was playing outside.

“Less than an hour later, we could not see him. We reported the case at the Itire Police Station, Alakara, and other surrounding police stations. Since that time, we have not seen him.”

An elder in the community, Alhaja Aisha Hussein, said residents were amazed at how the children disappeared within the short time their parents left them to play around their vicinity.

She said, “Two years ago, a three-year-old girl was playing outside while her mother was inside sleeping. After an hour, the mother woke up and came out to look for her but she couldn’t see the girl. We searched everywhere without any success. We also reported the case to the police.

“There was a boy who was following his father to the mosque on a Friday. The father sent him back and followed him to the last junction to their house before he headed back for the mosque. His mother said she heard him cry while she was praying. She came out after completing the prayer and looked everywhere but could not see him.

“There is a Yoruba boy, Shittu, who was also abducted after he came back from school. The boy was playing outside while his mother was preparing food for him. When she finished cooking, she came out to call the boy but he was nowhere to be found. No one knew how the boy got missing.

“There was also a two-year-old boy who got missing in the same manner. He was playing in front of her parents’ house with two other friends. The mother asked them about him but they could not explain his whereabouts.”

A traditional leader in the community, Seriki Hausa of Idi Araba and Mushin, Alhaji Hassan Abubakar, said the incidents had become worrisome to residents and urged the government to assist in addressing it.

He said, “This thing started two years ago. Six children have been missing so far without any clue to their whereabouts. We need the government to help us solve this problem. Our people are worried about the continuous missing of children. We have advised parents to always look after their children and always follow them to their schools.”

Secretary to the palace and Assistant Youth Leader, Mushin Local Government Area, Hussein Hussein, said they had a strong suspicion that insiders had a hand in the cases, noting that two children narrowly escaped from their abductors while a ransom was paid for the release of an abducted child.

He said, “Just recently, a child went missing. A child was also taken but was later released after the family paid a ransom. The kidnapper requested a N1.2m ransom and N10,000 recharge cards. The family tried to conceal the case probably because those people had threatened them. We believe those perpetrators have insiders.

“A boy was abducted on his way to an Islamic school. On getting to Yaba (a neighbouring community), he was dropped off because his abductors saw policemen at a checkpoint. It was a good Samaritan who brought the boy back home.

“There was also another child that was dropped off around Shitta when his abductors saw policemen. We are appealing to the government and security agencies to help us stop this menace. We have told parents that it is their primary responsibility to take care of the children and be watchful over them.”

But the spokesperson for the police in the state, CSP Muyiwa Adejobi, said the command was only aware of a case and urged other affected parents to report to the police.

He said, “The command was not aware of these missing person cases. We only recorded one case and we have acted on it. The people of the area should always get the police informed on any happenings in their area. We urge them to come up with their cases or complaints for the police command to act appropriately.”

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