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AMCON names Sigma Golf-Riverbank Consortium new buyers of Keystone Bank

The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has announced Sigma Golf Nigeria Limited and Riverbank Investment Resources Limited (the Sigma Golf-Riverbank Consortium) as the new investors in Keystone Bank.

The announcement came amid controversies surrounding the sale of the bank, with AMCON alleged to be acting in breach of extant takeover provisions.

AMCON, in a statement on Monday, said the announcement is in relation to the acquisition of the entire issued and fully paid up ordinary shares of the bank.

This, AMCON said, follows the receipt of the necessary regulatory approvals from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The completion of the transaction is subject to the fulfillment of the conditions precedent as stated in the Share Sale and Purchase Agreement executed between AMCON and the consortium, the corporation added.

Earlier in November 2016, some senior officials of AMCON had voiced strong opposition to the planned sale of Keystone Bank Ltd.

The disturbed officials specifically alleged that Ahmed Kuru, the chairman of AMCON, had concluded plans to hand over Keystone to a coalition of powerful Northern interests, while disregarding extant takeover provisions of AMCON in the process.

It was gathered that Sigma Pensions Limited, a firm linked to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Umar Modibbo, might emerge the new owner of Keystone Bank with its nearly 160 branches.

The two influential Nigerians were allegedly being represented by the firm which our sources said did not participate in the bidding process, in a clear contradiction of basic public asset sale requirements.

After a commercial was placed for the bidding process by AMCON, 13 companies had submitted their expression of interests but the companies did not include the firm which AMCON was set to sell the bank to.

AMCON, in its statement on Monday, said the emergence of the Sigma Golf-Riverbank Consortium resulted from a rigorous and competitive bidding process, which was coordinated for AMCON by Citibank Nigeria Limited, its affiliates and FBN Capital (joint financial advisers), and Banwo & Ighodalo, and Crosswrock Law (joint legal advisers).

Sigma Golf Nigeria Limited and Riverbank Investment Resources, the corporation stated, were entities set up by local investors, adding that the process for the sale of the bank started with interest shown by 18 parties cutting across local and international investors.

Keystone Bank was incorporated by the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation on August 3, 2011 following the revocation of the license of Bank PHB by the CBN.

As of April 2016, Keystone Bank had a staff strength of 1,753 employees, network of 154 branches, nine cash centres and 315 Automated Teller Machines.

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