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Nigeria’s Unity Bank to Meet on Sale of Non-Bank Units

Unity Bank Plc, a Nigerian lender that was asked by the central bank to recapitalize, said its shareholders will meet to consider approving a sale of non-banking units.

At the Dec. 30 meeting, shareholders will also vote to authorize the directors to take any action needed “to achieve competitive business advantage,” the lender said in a notice published in Lagos-based ThisDay newspaper today, without giving details.

The Central Bank of Nigeria in March asked lenders to separate their banking and non-banking businesses to allow for better supervision. Banks also need to choose whether to operate as regional, national or international lenders with minimum capital requirements ranging from 15 billion naira ($98.8 million) for regional banks to 100 billion naira for international lenders.

Central bank Governor Lamido Sanusi fired the chief executive officers of eight lenders for their handling of a debt crisis last year that almost led to the collapse of the industry. The central bank also bailed out the industry with 620 billion naira. Unity, based in the capital, Abuja, and Lagos-based Wema Bank Plc were given until September to inject fresh funds. Both have since complied by selling shares.

Unity’s shares gained for the second day, trading 2 kobo, or 1.8 percent, higher at 1.14 naira by 12:49 p.m. in Lagos.

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