By Obinna Chima
Diamond Bank Plc said it had concluded plan to sell its West African banking operations in order to focus on Nigeria’s significant retail banking opportunity.
According to a statement yesterday, the bank has agreed to sell its operations in Benin, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal to Manzi Finances S.A., a Cote d’Ivoire-based financial services holding company.
It further revealed that regulatory approvals had been obtained in all jurisdictions for the transaction, which it anticipated would close before December 31, 2017.
“By focusing its resources exclusively on Nigeria, Diamond Bank is poised to capitalise on the positive macro fundamentals inherent in the Nigerian market.
“These include Africa’s largest economy and evolving socio-economic trends driven by changing lifestyle preferences in favour of mobile delivered services, and a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship,” the statement added.
Commenting on the transaction, Diamond Bank’s CEO Uzoma Dozie said: “After 18 years of building the Diamond Bank franchise in other markets in West Africa, the time has come to fully apply our resources to Nigeria.” This, Dozie said aligns with Diamond Bank’s strategic objective: to be the fastest growing and most profitable technology-driven retail banking franchise in Nigeria.
He added: “We are prioritising the Nigerian market because of its vast potential. A large segment of the population is under-banked or unbanked and the use of technology and mobile banking is rising exponentially.
“This provides Diamond Bank with the opportunity to reach millions of people, and facilitate financial inclusion on an exceptional scale.
“In addition, Diamond Bank already has a foundation for growth in Nigeria with over 15 million customers. We also have a framework in Nigeria that will allow us to scale rapidly, efficiently and cost effectively.