By Etuka Sunday
All is now set for Diamond Bank Plc (“Diamond Bank”) – Nigeria’s fastest growing retail bank to sell its UK banking operations, Diamond Bank UK, in order to focus on Nigeria and its significant retail banking opportunity.
As part of the process, Diamond Bank has signed a Share Sale and Purchase Agreement with a member of GFG Alliance, for the disposal of its entire shareholding in Diamond Bank UK.
Completion of the transaction is subject to approval from the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulatory Authority – the regulators responsible for banking in the UK.
By focusing exclusively on Nigeria, Diamond Bank is seeking to capitalize on the vast growth opportunities presented by Africa’s largest economy. This includes macro fundamentals such as Nigerian’s changing lifestyle preferences in favour of mobile delivered services and an emerging culture of innovation and tech-enabled entrepreneurship.
The proposed deal follows a similar transaction which saw Diamond Bank sell its West African business operations across Benin, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal in November 2017 in order to focus on Nigeria.
Subject to the deal completing, Diamond Bank will have no remaining international subsidiaries leaving it to focus solely on Nigeria.
Commenting on the transaction, Diamond Bank’s CEO Uzoma Dozie said: “Diamond Bank’s strategic objective is to be the fastest growing, and most profitable technology driven retail banking franchise in Nigeria. This strategic intent requires us to optimize resources by divesting from non-core assets, and focusing exclusively on the Nigeria’s highly attractive market.
“The commercial opportunities for Diamond Bank in Nigeria are vast, due to its positive fundamentals including millions of people who are either underbanked or unbanked, high mobile phone penetration and the continent’s largest economy.
“Significantly, Diamond Bank has already laid the foundation for growth in Nigeria with acquisition of over 15 million customers, many of whom are owning bank accounts for the first time. Through its technology-led approach, Diamond Bank is also fully aligned to most Nigerian’s digital first ethos, whilst also having a framework for scaling up quickly, efficiently and cost effectively.”
The sale of international subsidiaries is not expected to cause service disruptions for international customers, as they will continue to enjoy enhanced and convenient banking services through Diamond Bank’s digital channels.