Skye Bank of Nigeria Signs Agreement to Buy Mainstreet Bank

Skye Bank Plc signed an agreement with state-owned Asset Management Corp. of Nigeria to acquire Mainstreet Bank after it emerged as the preferred buyer for the nationalized lender.

Lagos-based Skye Bank paid 20 percent of the agreed price today, the lender said in an e-mailed statement from the city, Nigeria’s commercial capital, without giving further details. The accord covers details of “how the parties will go about the transaction,” Kayode Lambo, a spokesman for Amcon, as the asset management company is known, said by phone today.

Amcon was set up in 2010 to buy bad loans and stabilize Nigeria’s banking industry after a debt crisis threatened the industry with collapse. It is selling three lenders it nationalized in 2011 after regulators said they were unfit for business.

Mainstreet is the second of the nationalized banks that needs a buyer. Amcon named HBC Investment Services, a unit of Nigerian Heritage Banking Co., as preferred bidder for Enterprise Bank on Sept. 12.

Skye Bank was picked as the preferred bidder for Mainstreet after the asset attracted interest from 25 local and foreign investors, Amcon said. Cedar One Investment Partners Ltd. is the first-reserve bidder and Fidelity Bank Plc the second.

The acquisition gives Skye Bank a network of 450 branches, covering all of Nigeria’s 36 states and benefits including “business optimization,” according to the lender.

Skye Bank fell 5 percent to 2.85 naira by the close of trading in Lagos. The stock has slumped 35 percent this year compared with a 1.8 percent drop in the 195-member Nigerian Stock Exchange All-Share Index.

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