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Amcon of Nigeria Reaches Debt Accord With Ecobank Chairman

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Aug. 2 (Bloomberg) -- The Asset Management Corp. of Nigeria, created by the government to buy lenders’ bad loans, said it reached an agreement with Ecobank Transnational Inc. Chairman Kolapo Lawson over outstanding debts.

Lawson is in “good standing” with the Asset Management Corp., known as Amcon, spokesman Kayode Lambo said by telephone from Lagos, Nigeria, today. Amcon “will take other measures” should Lawson not honor the deal’s terms, he said, declining to give further details.

Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission will meet with the board of Ecobank, based in the country of Togo, on Aug. 5 to discuss governance, Obi Adindu, a spokesman for the SEC, said by telephone from Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. Lawson owes Amcon 1.2 billion naira ($7.5 million), the Financial Times said last month, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. Agbara Estate, a Nigerian property company chaired by Lawson, has “long outstanding” debts of 1.6 billion naira to Ecobank’s Nigerian unit, the newspaper said.

Amcon was set up in 2010 after a debt crisis threatened the country’s banking industry. It owns 10.7 percent of Ecobank’s unit in Nigeria, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Founded in 1985, Ecobank has expanded into France and 34 African countries. It has representative offices in Beijing, Dubai, Johannesburg, London and Luanda, Angola. The bank’s assets were $21 billion at the end of June.

Ecobank’s shares rose as much as 1 percent in Lagos before closing unchanged at 14.6 naira. They increased 29 percent this year, compared with a 22 percent gain for the 10-member Nigerian Stock Exchange Banking 10 Index.

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

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net; Vernon Wessels at vwessels@bloomberg.net

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