Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE)-listed First Merchant Bank (FMB) announced last evening that it is fully taking over Opportunity Bank of Malawi (OBM).
Briefing journalists in Lilongwe, OBM board chairperson Fraser Hume said shareholders of both banks have reached an agreement relating to the acquisition pending approval from the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM), the regulator of financial services in the country.
In his remarks, FMB chairperson Hitesh Anadkat said although it is too early to comment on the staff requirements after the acquisition, it is his bank’s wish to limit employee pain during the transition.
He said: “This acquisition will increase the balance sheet by 15 percent. I have no doubt that we will learn a great deal from our new OBM colleagues about how to carry out FMB’s strategic intent of growing our structured finance business, especially with smallholder farmers.”
The OBM transaction is the second major business decision by FMB this year after completing the acquisition of a controlling stake in Barclays Bank Zimbabwe Limited earlier this month.
Besides Zimbabwe, FMB has operations in Mozambique, Botswana and Zambia where it trades as Capital Bank.
In the meantime, the bank plans to transfer its shares in FMB to Mauritius-based FMB Capital Holdings (FMBCH) in a move that will see FMBCH listing on the MSE and FMB delisting from the local bourse. n