Subject to final regulatory approvals, including the High Court Sanction of the Scheme of merger with Diamond Bank, the new Access Bank will start operating on April 1 2019, the banks told journalists on Wednesday at a press conference, following approval of their merger by their respective shareholders in an extraordinary general meeting, in Lagos.
Diamond Bank said shareholders of both entities had voted in favour of the Scheme of Merger, paving the way for the completion of the transaction, adding: “Diamond Bank Plc (“Diamond Bank”) and Access Bank Plc (“Access Bank”) today announced the approval of their merger by shareholders of Diamond Bank and Access Bank, respectively.”
Herbert Wigwe, Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank, speaking on shareholders’ votes, said “I’m delighted that the shareholders of both companies share our vision and have supported this merger. The merger is about bringing together our complementary retail and corporate banking capabilities to create one of Nigeria’s leading Tier 1 banks.”
According to the banks, 99.9 percent of the shareholders of Diamond representing 400 shareholders present voted in favour of the merger, while 98.7 percent of Access Bank shareholders representing 1, 569 shareholders present at the meeting approved of the merger, while a total of five minority shareholders of Diamond Bank and ten of Access Bank voted against the merger while 403 and 30 shareholders respectively abstained from the voting.
It will be recalled that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), two key financial industry regulators, had earlier granted approvals-in-principle for the respective Scheme of Merger of the two banks.
“This accelerates our strategy of becoming a leading bank in Nigeria and Africa’s Gateway to the World. This combination will create the largest retail bank in Africa by customer base and a very significant player in the Nigerian market – thereby creating more opportunities for our customers, colleagues and shareholders,” Wigwe added.