Joe Tetteh, MD of Merchant Bank


FirstRand of South Africa has announced the takeover of Merchant Bank Ghana (MBG).

South Africa?s largest bank said on Wednesday that it will pay 746.2 million rand ($91 million) for a 75 percent stake in Merchant Bank to expand its presence on the continent.

The deal, according to FirstRand, has the approval of shareholders in Ghana.

It also said the deal entails ?a subscription of new shares worth 154 million and acquisition of shares worth 592.2 million rand.?

The transaction also excludes some loans on MBG?s balance sheet, which existing shareholders will acquire and continue to collect outstanding balances, First Rand said.

Joseph Tetteh, Managing Director of Merchant Bank, confirmed the takeover to Joy FM and said the bank was looking forward to partnering FirstRand.

?We look forward to welcome FirstRand as strategic partner to MBG to reposition the bank for future growth,? he said.

?FirstRand is a leading and well diversified South African bank with an established franchise in sub-Saharan Africa.

It will provide MBG with the necessary skills, products, relationships and experience to re-establish MBG as a leading bank in Ghana.?

Listed on the JSE and the Namibian Stock Exchange, FirstRand Limited, with a market capitalisation in excess of ZAR150 billion, is one of the largest financial institutions in South Africa.

FirstRand?s portfolio of leading franchises provides banking and insurance products and services to retail, commercial, corporate and public sector customers in South Africa and several African countries.

It has a portfolio of market-leading franchises: Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), South Africa?s premier investment bank; First National Bank (FNB), the country?s third largest domestic retail and wholesale bank by assets and WesBank, the largest asset finance operator with over 30 per cent of South Africa?s motor market.

On the other hand, Merchant Bank took advantage of the opportunities offered by the introduction of Universal Banking Business in Ghana to develop all three areas of universal banking including retail, corporate and investment.

Merchant Bank currently has 21 branches, and the Bank of Ghana (BoG) is yet to approve the deal.

So far, there have been no reactions from Merchant Bank?s shareholders and some analysts believe FirstRand?s track-record might have ensured a successful bid.

By William Yaw Owusu

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