Nigeria’s Amcon Picks Citigroup, RenCap to Advise on Banks

The Asset Management Corp. of Nigeria, an agency set up to buy bad debt from the nation’s banks, has appointed Citigroup Inc. (C) and Renaissance Capital to value and advise on plans for three nationalized lenders, Chief Executive Officer Mustafa Chike-Obi said.

Citigroup was picked to advise on Mainstreet Bank Ltd., with Renaissance taking on Keystone Bank Ltd. and Enterprise Bank Ltd., Chike-Obi said today in a mobile-phone interview. They have three to six months to report back to Amcon, he said.

The banks were among eight bailed out by the Central Bank of Nigeria in 2009 as a lending crisis threatened the financial system in sub-Saharan Africa’s second-largest economy and biggest oil producer. While five were later acquired by other banks, three were nationalized in August after regulators decided they couldn’t meet banking requirements.

Listing the banks’ shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange may be a possibility, Chike-Obi said. “If they advise a share sale then we will go ahead,” he said.

Abuja-based Amcon said in a March advertisement that it was seeking advisers for the possible sale of the three banks. In June, Chike-Obi said 44 had responded and that the agency shortlisted 11 of them to submit of proposals.

While the central bank is not directly involved in the sale of the banks, Governor Lamido Sanusi said Feb. 15 that it’s “expecting a smooth process.”

The Bloomberg NSE Banking Index (NGSEB10), which tracks the performance of Nigeria’s 10 most capitalized banks, has jumped 29 percent this year, to 353.3 at the close of trading yesterday in Lagos, the commercial capital, compared with the 13 percent rise of the Nigerian Stock Exchange All-Share Index. (NGSEINDX)

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Kay in Abuja at ckay5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Vernon Wessels at vwessels@bloomberg.net

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