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CBN sells Polaris Bank for N50bn

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CBN sells Polaris Bank for N50bn

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) have formally announced the acquisition of Polaris Bank Limited.

CBN’s Director, Corporate Communications Department, Osita Nwanisobi, in a statement on behalf of CBN and AMCON, said Strategic Capital Investment Limited (SCIL) has paid N50 billion for the acquisition of 100 per cent equity of the bridge bank.

The statement noted that the new owners, SCIL, have accepted the terms of the agreement for the purchase.

The terms include the full repayment of N1.305 trillion, being the consideration bonds injected into the bank.

The statement read: “The CBN thus received an immediate return for the value it has created in Polaris Bank during the stabilisation period, as well as ensuring that all funds originally provided to support the intervention are recovered.

“The sale was coordinated by a Divestment Committee (the ‘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.”

Speaking on the transaction, the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, said 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 role since the bridge bank was established; in stabilising the bank’s operations, and its balance sheet and implementing strong governance structures to address the issues that led to the intervention.

According to him, the process has 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 has been operating as a bridge bank since 2018 when the CBN revoked the licence of the former Skye Bank Plc and established Polaris Bank to assume its assets and certain liabilities.

So far, N898 billion had been injected into the bank to be repaid over a period of 25 years. (Witnessngr.com)

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