Nume Ekeghe with agency report
The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) is to seek new investors to take over Polaris Bank Limited after elections next month, adding that it is taking stock of the bank’s assets ahead of a sale.
Spokesman for AMCON, Mr. Jude Nwauzor, told Reuters that: “The election season has slowed down things.”
Nigerians will vote on February 16, in a presidential election where incumbent Muhammadu Buhari is seeking a second term.
“We would advertise for expressions of interest from investors after elections and commence the sale process,” Nwauzor said.
Some of Nigeria’s banks have faced tough times since low oil prices put pressure on their business of lending to the oil and gas industry. The country emerged from a recession in 2017, but economic growth remains sluggish and this has weighed on credit growth.
Polaris Bank was set up last year to take over the assets of Skye Bank which collapsed and had its operating licence revoked by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Polaris was then transferred to the state-owned ‘bad bank’ for sale to investors. AMCON has previously sold three other nationalised banks. The AMCON spokesman said the corporation was seeking to recover debts owed to Polaris that were non-performing and had asked for proposals on repayment.
AMCON was set up in 2010 to take on non-performing loans from banks as part of the country’s efforts to resolve a financial crisis at that time.