In its bid to expand business operations beyond Malawi borders, National Bank of Malawi (NBM) plc has reached final stages to acquire a 75 percent stake in Tanzanian bank, Akiba Commercial Bank (ACB).
The two banks, about to go into a merger, signed a Share Subscription Agreement on January 31 2020 and following this, Tanzania’s Fair Competition Commission (FCC) as a matter of procedure, announced on Wednesday that it was investigating the deal.
Tanzania local media reported that FCC was investigating the intended acquisition of ACB in line with the provisions of the Fair Competition Act and the Competition Rules, 2018.
NBM marketing and corporate affairs manager Akossa Hiwa said in an interview on Friday that a cautionary statement dated December 9 2019 was issued, advising the public of the bank’s intentions to acquire a controlling stake in a financial institution outside Malawi.
She said: “There’re ongoing negotiations with several stakeholders. As soon as the negotiations are completed, we shall provide full disclosure [to Malawians about the deal].”
Tanzania FCC has since asked parties, whose interests are likely to be affected by the merger, to submit their petitions to assist the commission in reaching a just and reasonable decision regarding the intended merger, according to Malawi’s The Citizen newspaper.
A Chancellor College-based economics professor Ben Kalua, who described the move as bold business decision and positive for Malawi, said what the cautionary statement mean to the shareholders in this context is that they have to be cautious as the share price may either go down or up.
NBM was listed on Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE) in 2001 and by far the largest commercial bank in Malawi.