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(Ecofin Agency) - Access Bank, one of the largest banks in Nigeria by customer size, has received the necessary regulatory approvals in Nigeria and South Africa to acquire a significant stake in South African bank Grobank Limited.

 

The Lagos-based bank, which operates in 12 countries, made an offer to acquire 49% of Grobank in an initial transaction, and subsequently to acquire a majority stake in the bank, which is owned by the GroCapital Holdings financial group.

 

“Today’s announcement represents significant progress in delivering on our strategic intent of becoming Africa’s Gateway to the World in pursuit of our vision to be the World’s Most Respected African Bank,” said Herbert Wigwe, CEO of Acess Bank. He said his company’s presence in South Africa will undoubtedly accelerate its goal of reaching and impacting 100 million customers across the continent by 2022.

Access Bank had entered into an initial agreement in September 2020 with GroCapital Holdings to enter the South African banking market. Through this investment, the bank listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange intends to strengthen its presence in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which it considers to be one of the most important trading blocs in Africa.

 

A presence in South Africa should also give it access to one of the largest banking markets in Africa while consolidating its footprint on the wider continent, with enhanced capabilities to meet the needs of multinational clients.

 

The group, which made a series of acquisitions in East and West Africa in 2020, has identified eight new African countries, including three in North Africa, for its next expansion on the continent. The bank said it hopes to take advantage of growth opportunities in high-potential markets as well as the opportunities offered by the continental free trade zone.

 

Access Bank also intends to diversify its earnings by leveraging its African subsidiaries. The lender plans to generate up to 30% of its profits outside its home market over the next five years.