• Sat. Sep 30th, 2023

CBN, AMCON approve investment firm’s plan to acquire Polaris Bank 


Oct 20, 2022

By Bassey Udo 

 The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) on Thursday formally unveiled the completion of a Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) for the acquisition of 100 percent equity in Polaris Bank  by Strategic Capital Investment Limited (SCIL).

Already, the House of Representatives on Wednesday confirmed the sale of the bank after confirming the acquisition followed laid down procedures and the relevant presidential approval. 

The Director, Corporate Communications Department of the CBN, Osita Nwanisobi, said the CBN and AMCON disclosed that SCIL paid an upfront consideration of N50 billion to acquire 100 percent stake in Polaris investment firm. 

Also, the firm equally accepted the terms of the agreement which included the full repayment of the sum of N1.305 trillion, being the consideration bonds injected into the acquisition process. 

Nwanisobi’s statement reads: “the CBN thus received an immediate return for the value it created in Polaris Bank during the stabilisation period, as well as ensuring all funds originally provided to support the intervention were recovered.

“The sale was coordinated by a Divestment Committee, comprising representatives of the CBN and AMCON, and advised by legal and financial consultants.

The Committee conducted a sale process by ‘private treaty’, as provided in Section 34(5) of the AMCON Act to avoid negative speculations, retain value and preserve financial system stability.  

“In the process, parties who had formally expressed an interest in acquiring Polaris Bank, subsequent to the CBN intervention in 2018, were invited to submit financial and technical proposals. Invitations to submit proposals were sent to 25 pre-qualified interested parties, out of which three parties eventually submitted final purchase proposals following technical evaluation. 

“All submissions were subject to a rigorous transaction process from which SCIL emerged as the preferred bidder having presented the most comprehensive technical/financial purchase proposal as well as the highest rated growth plans for Polaris Bank,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, was quoted as saying that the sale of the bank “marks the completion of a landmark intervention in a strategic institution in the Nigerian banking sector by the CBN and AMCON.”

He commended the outgoing board and management for their vital roles since the bridge bank was established, as well as in stabilising the bank’s operations, its balance sheet and implementing strong governance structures to address the issues that led to the intervention by the apex bank. 

The Governor said the process provided the CBN with an unprecedented opportunity to recover its intervention funds in full and promote financial stability and inclusive growth. 

He wished SCIL well as they implement growth plans to build the bank from the strong foundations that have been established.

Polaris Bank has been in operation as a bridge bank since 2018 when the CBN intervened to revoke the licence of the former Skye Bank Plc and established Polaris Bank to assume its assets and certain liabilities. 

As part of the CBN intervention, consideration bonds with a face value of N898 billion (future value of N1.305 trillion) was injected into the bridge bank through AMCON, to be repaid over a 25-year period.  

The CBN said the actions were taken to prevent the imminent collapse of the bank, enable its stabilisation and recovery, protect depositors’ fund, prevent job losses and preserve systemic financial stability.

Speaking on the acquisition the Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee investigating the sale of Polaris Bank, Henry Nwawuba, said the lawmakers during the scrutiny of various documents and extant regulatory process on the sale of the bank, discovered there were evidences of substantial compliance with the process, hence the approval of the go-ahead to SCIL to acquire the bank. 

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