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Monday, 27 March 2017

New Investor Takes Over Keystone Bank

The embattled Keystone Bank with its nearly 160 branches across Nigerian has been taken over by new investors. A Premium Times has shown that the Sigma Golf-Riverbank consortium, the new investor that acquired Keystone Bank Limited from the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON, has taken control of the financial institution.
The new investors pledged to reposition the bank on a growth path with immediate effect, a statement made available on Sunday said.
AMCON had recently announced Sigma Golf Nigeria Limited and Riverbank Investment Resources Limited as the new owners of the bank.
The announcement came amid controversies surrounding the sale of the bank, with AMCON alleged to be acting in breach of extant takeover provisions.
Premium Times reports that some senior officials of AMCON voiced strong opposition to the planned sale of the bank.
The disturbed officials specifically alleged that Ahmed Kuru, the chairman of AMCON, had concluded plans to hand over Keystone to a coalition of powerful Northern interests, while disregarding extant takeover provisions of AMCON in the process.
A Premium Times investigations in November 2016 had revealed that Sigma Pensions Limited, a firm linked to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Umar Modibbo, might emerge the new owner of Keystone Bank with its nearly 160 branches.
The two influential Nigerians were allegedly being represented by the firm which our sources said did not participate in the bidding process, in a clear contradiction of basic public asset sale requirements.
But Paul Ibe, Mr. Atiku’s spokesperson, however, denied his principal’s involvement in the said deal.
Meanwhile, a statement from Keystone Bank said the completion of the takeover process was held last Thursday with representatives of Sigma Golf-Riverbank consortium; AMCON management; the board and management of Keystone Bank; the advisers to the buyer (KPMG Professional Services, Boston Advisory Services, Giwa Osagie & Co., and Pan-African Capital Limited); as well as those of the seller (FBN Capital Limited, Citibank Nigeria Limited, Banwo & Ighodalo, and CrosswrockLaw).
The completion meeting signified the effective handover of the bank to the buyer and the commencement of a transition process that will culminate in the reconstitution of the board and management of the bank to reflect the new ownership.
Keystone Bank was taken over by AMCON in 2011 and was until the sale managed by the AMCON appointed board and management that stabilised the bank to make it attractive as a potential target for eventual acquisition by the investors.
While announcing the new investors last week, AMCON had said that the Sigma Golf-Riverbank consortium emerged the preferred bidders after a very transparent and competitive bidding process.
“The emergence of the Sigma Golf-Riverbank consortium will bring a new lease of life with the expected injection of fresh capital that would position the bank to play competitively in the banking space and actualise its full potential,” it said.
“In moving the bank forward as a major player in the industry, the new investors will be backed up by a pool of reputable professionals both currently within the bank and across the industry.
“Keystone Bank therefore assures all its stakeholders that the transition process will reposition the bank to serve its customers better, creating enhanced value for all stakeholders,” it added.

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