Union Bank of Nigeria Plc has announced a planned divestment of its United Kingdom subsidiary and committing the proceeds to leveraging “growth opportunities in Nigeria” while streamlining its business operations geographically.
In its notice to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) yesterday signed by Company Secretary, Somuyiwa Sonubi, the lender said it had entered into a share sale and purchase agreement that would see it divest its 100% equity stake in Union Bank UK Plc.
MBU BidCo Limited, an acquisition vehicle wholly owned by MBU Capital Limited, emerged the preferred bidder after a competitive bid process.
The bank’s chief, Emeka Emuwa, remarked that “as the banking landscape shifts towards digital and agency banking to drive financial inclusion, the Nigerian market presents robust long-term opportunities for Union Bank.
“This divestment allows us channel our focus and capital towards mining those opportunities fully.
“Through the sale, we are better positioned to deliver greater value to the organization and its stakeholders as well as continue to build the future of banking in Nigeria.
“The terms of the sale of UBUK delivers substantial value to our shareholders, while also entrusting its customers and trading partners to a high-quality financial services institution who will work with existing management to deliver a stronger and more profitable entity.”
Speaking on the other side of the bargain, Mohammed Iqbal, Founder and CEO of MBU Capital, noted that “we are delighted to announce the acquisition of Union Bank UK, subject to regulatory approval.
“We see a huge opportunity to build on UBUK’s strengths in international markets to create a new-style bank which is focused on the needs of UK and international SMEs and entrepreneurs.
“Many of these customers are seeking a bank which truly understands the needs of entrepreneurial, fast-growing businesses.
“We look forward to working with our new colleagues at UBUK to continue to service the needs of its clients. We also look forward to sustaining and deepening relationships with UBUK’s existing trading partners.”
Union Bank set foot in the UK in 1983, initially operating as the London branch of the parent company before becoming an independently incorporated UK bank in October 2004.
It has undergone a series of corporate metamorphosis since setting foot in Nigeria in 1917 as the Colonial Bank.
It was acquired in 1925 by Britain’s Barclays, becoming Barclays Bank Dominion, Colonial and Overseas. It became a quoted company in 1971, when it was incorporated locally as Barclays Bank of Nigeria Plc.
It took its current name, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, in 1979 to reflect the change in its ownership structure.
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