By Adesola Afolabi and Afolabi Oluwaseun
Shareholders of Access Bank, one of Nigeria’s top-tier lenders, today, approved the scheme of merger between Access Bank and Diamond Bank, and now awaits final clearance from the Central Bank and Securities, Exchange Commission.
At the court-ordered meeting of Access Bank, shareholders voted their acceptance of the merger, with 97. 89 percent of 1,569 shareholders voting for, while just 10 shareholders, which amounted to 2.1 percent voted against the merger. The remaining 30 shareholders abstained.
Herbert Wigwe, CEO, Access Bank Nigeria Plc., called the merger “a marriage made in heaven,” as he outlined the benefits of the merger to shareholders. He stated that Diamond Bank’s retail operations has been a major attraction and combining it with that of Access Bank, could mean an exponential expansion of the bank’s retail franchise.
Wigwe said, “Access Bank has recognised the significant growth opportunity in retail banking and this transaction presents a unique opportunity to accelerate Access Bank’s retail franchise. A merger with Diamond Bank enables us to acquire a bank with 17 million retail customers and the visible mobile payment platform. The merger will allow Access Bank to accelerate its prospect of becoming the leading retail bank in Nigeria and Africa.”
“Access Bank will benefit from Diamond Bank’s unparalleled retail banking expertise and strong digital offering, and together, the two banks would create one of Nigeria’s leading banks, with 27 million customers, 3,100 ATMs and over 33,000 POS, as well as more than 10 million mobile customers,” he added.
Speaking on issues raised by shareholders, concerning Diamond Bank legacy loans, Wigwe promised to put together a very strong team to recover depositor’s money, he also promised that Access Bank will be accommodating and imbibing the cultural identities of Diamond Bank, which made them such a force in retail banking
Adebayo Adeleke, a shareholder of Access Bank, expressed his delight at the merger stating that he could not wait for the merger to be sanctioned, as Access Bank has the prospect and capacity to take over the world.
Bisi Bakare, a shareholder of Diamond Bank, thank the board of directors Access Bank for “giving life” to the shareholders of Diamond Bank, she said “I would like to thank the board of Access Bank for saving and giving life to us, we the shareholders of Diamond Bank, because we were already scared that this could be another story of a failed bank, but Access Bank came to our rescue.”
Upon effect of the merger, each Diamond Bank shareholder will receive a combination of a cash consideration of N1.00 per share and 2 Access Bank shares of 50k each for every 7 Diamond Bank shares of 50k each.
The merger will also mean that Access Bank shareholders will own 81.38 percent of the enlarged Access Bank’s issued share capital, while Diamond Bank shareholders will own the remaining 18.62 percent.