The process of selling Mainstreet Bank and Enterprise Bank, two of the three nationalised banks owned by the Federal Government, will be completed on or before September 15 this year, the Chief Executive Officer, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, Mr. Mustafa Chike-Obi, disclosed in an exclusive interview with our correspondent on Monday.
Chike-Obi also insisted that there would be no extension of the timeline given for prospective investors in Mainstreet Bank to submit their Expression of Interest, which will expire on May 16.
Some prospective investors and stakeholders in the defunct Afribank Plc, which later transmuted to Mainstreet Bank, had on Monday reportedly criticised AMCON for giving only one-week notice to those who were interested in bidding for the bank to submit their EOI.
They said while they were in agreement with AMCON on the need to move ownership of the bridged banks from government control to the private sector, the process should be well streamlined, well publicised and should be allowed enough time to be examined by all interested parties.
But Chike-Obi told our correspondent that one week was enough for any serious-minded prospective investors to submit their EOI, adding that the bad debt manager would complete the sale of Enterprise and Mainstreet Bank by September 15.
The AMCON CEO said, “We will complete the sale of both Enterprise and Mainstreet banks by September 15. Enterprise will be completed before that date, but both banks will definitely be completed by September 15. Out of over 30 investors that submitted EOI for Enterprise Bank, seven have been approved and cleared, and those seven investors are doing due diligence on the bank, and this will last for six weeks.
“For those clamouring that one week is not enough for them to submit their EOI, I want to ask you who are these people you are talking about? What is their name? These are groups of people who want to quickly go and put some books together. Let me tell you that some banks have been waiting for the sale of Mainstreet for a long time. And we have announced a very long time ago that we will sell these banks. What have they been doing? I can tell you that for any serious investor, two days is enough to submit your EOI.
“What is EOI? EOI is simply to tell us who you are and who constitute your management team. Just let us know you; that is all. Then, those who are approved will now be given six weeks to go and do due diligence on the banks. We are not saying you will do due diligence within one week, no. So the timetable is not changing even regarding the EOI.”
Chike-Obi said the submission of EOI for Mainstreet Bank was the preliminary stage, reiterating that successful bidders would have the chance to examine the bank for six weeks.
For Keystone Bank, the AMCON boss said it would be sold next year, ruling out the possibility of selling it this year.
According to him, the sale of Mainstreet Bank will be faster because lessons learnt from the process of selling Enterprise are being taken into consideration.
He said a situation where traders from Onitsha submitted EOI to buy Enterprise Bank was one of the lessons learnt in the sales process.
The CBN had in 2011 revoked the operating licences of Afribank, Spring Bank and Bank PHB for not showing enough capacity and ability for recapitalisation.
In their place, the CBN through the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation established bridge banks and transferred the assets and liabilities of the three affected banks to the bridge banks.
The bridge banks are Enterprise Bank Limited (formerly Spring Bank Plc); Mainstreet Bank Limited (Afribank Plc); and Keystone Bank Limited (Bank PHB Plc). Punch