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Published On: Sun, Oct 1st, 2017

First Bank, the Elephant expands frontiers

By FELIX OLOYEDE

In a deft move to grow its banking franchise across Africa, First Bank Holding Company (FBNH) has increased equity stake in its Congo DRC subsidiary.

FBNH, Nigeria’s foremost  financial holding company, announced the acquisition of the remaining shares in FBNBank DRC Limited (FBNBank DRC), making it FBNH’s wholly owned Subsidiary.

FBNH said this follows its initial investment in FBNBank DRC (formerly Banque Internationale de Credit) in 2011, when the Bank acquired a 75 per cent stake in FBNBank DRC.

Following the acquisition, FBNBank DRC has continued to expand its product offerings, deepen its customer base, and is currently ranked amongst the top five banks serving the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a country with a population of more than 82 million.

Commenting on the acquisition, the Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, was quoted in a statement: “This transaction underscores our belief in Sub-Saharan Africa’s growth and our focus on providing a differentiated banking experience throughout Africa. This acquisition further consolidates our already robust African footprint and positions FirstBank to take advantage of emerging opportunities in DRC and the sub-region. This increased investment by FirstBank in FBNBank DRC – the 3rd largest banking entity in the Group, will surely accrete value for shareholders.”

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In his remark, the CEO, FBNBank DRC, Akeem Oladele, said: “With 100 per cent holding by FirstBank, FBNBank DRC now has much greater flexibility to deliver differentiated propositions by fully tapping into the resources and innovative capabilities of FirstBank in 8 countries, on three continents.

“FBNBank DRC is also now uniquely positioned to deepen customer reach, broaden offerings and accelerate its growth from top five to top three in DRC.”

The premier Nigerian bank had recorded a strong gross revenue growth of 16 per cent in 2016, from ₦463billion in 2015 to ₦536billion in 2016, despite the challenging macroeconomic environment. Similarly, FirstBank recorded a 10 per cent growth in profit before tax.

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FirstBank provides an array of world-class financial services to both corporate and individual customers, serving over 12 million customers in Nigeria, and more than 300,000 customers outside the country.

Recently, the bank was named the first financial service institution in Nigeria and the West Africa sub-region to have issued 10 million cards, making FirstBank one of only two banks in Africa to have achieved this feat.

The bank and its subsidiaries make up the banking group – with international presence in DRC, Ghana, Guinea, The Gambia, Sierra Leone and Senegal, as well as the United Kingdom and China.

First Pension Custodian Limited, the non-bank subsidiary of FirstBank, is a market leading player in the Nigerian pension industry with assets under custody of about ₦2.6trillion as at December 2016.

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