The proposed takeover of Merchant Bank Ghana by South Africa’s FirstRand Bank, has been abrogated.
The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) – majority shareholder of Merchant Bank – announced Friday July 12, 2013, that the proposed deal had fallen through.
A statement issued by Corporate Affairs Director for SSNIT, Evangeline Amegashie said the two parties, First Rand and Merchant Bank, failed to reach an agreement on the commercial principles for the acquisition.
According to the release: “FirstRand Limited (FirstRand) of South Africa and Ghana's Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) jointly announced today that the original legal and regulatory time frame agreed for FirstRand's offer to acquire Merchant Bank Ghana (MBG), announced in August 2012, has officially lapsed”.
“Despite all reasonable endeavours, the parties were unable to reach agreement on the commercial principles underlying the transaction and could not procure the fulfillment of all the conditions precedent. Therefore the transaction cannot be completed and has lapsed”.
SSNIT however said it will initiate a new process to invite proposals from interested parties for the acquisition of MBG.
“FirstRand said that it was disappointed not to have concluded the transaction, however Ghana remains a priority country for expansion and the Group would continue to engage with SSNIT on its new process,” the release stated.
In August, last year, FirstRand made a bid of $91 million for a 75 percent stake in the Ghanaian bank. Ghana’s workers’ pension scheme, SSNIT, owns 68 percent of Merchant Bank and the deal, when completed, should place the bank among the country’s five largest in terms of assets.
Merchant Bank has 22 branches currently and the banks workers have openly supported the takeover.
But the deal was put on hold due to difficulties among shareholders on clearing of outstanding bad debts on the books of Merchant Bank.