Nigeria’s Diamond Bank is on the table with Ivorian insurance group, NSIA, to offload its Diamond Bank Benin, according to Jeune Afrique Business+, the business news platform of Jeune Afrique Media Group.
Though negotiations are still ongoing, reports indicate that an agreement is expected to be signed this week.
If this deal goes as planned, Diamond Bank will not be the first Nigerian bank to withdraw from Francophone region. Access Bank did the same in 2013, selling its Ivorian subsidiary to pan-African group Afriland First Group.
The proposed sale would not be the first business the two institutions have done. In 2011, same NSIA bought Adic Insurance from Diamond Bank for $45m.
Like other Nigerian banks, Diamond Bank is currently looking for fresh capital in order to improve its capital adequacy ratios in a tough operating environment.
Other Nigerian banks are still active in Francophone countries, like United Bank for Africa and First Bank of Nigeria.
FirstBank has strategically developed its footprints in the sub-region, starting in 2011 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the bank acquired Banque International de Credit, then Senegal and Guinea following the acquisition of ICB’s operations in 2013 and 2014.
Diamond Bank Benin has operations in Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Togo. The bank had total assets of $1.3bn, total deposits of $1bn and revenues close to $50m at the end of last year.