Atlas Mara, the investment firm of veteran banker Bob Diamond, has revealed plans to raise $200 million to increase its stake in one of Nigeria’s leading lenders, Union Bank.
Reuters reported earlier that Atlas Mara was looking to acquire a 13.4 percent stake in the Union Bank from Clermont Group, taking its total holding to 44.5 percent.
The report revealed that Atlas Mara is in discussions with potential investors regarding the possibility of raising fresh equity capital “comprising of $100 million equity offering and a $100 million mandatory convertible bond.”
The investment firm aims to play a significant role in Africa’s banking industry through acquisitions. In 2014, it spent $265 million to buy a majority stake in BancABC and acquire stakes in a few other financial services providers across sub-Saharan Africa. It raised a further $300 million for further acquisitions, including a $31.1 controlling interest in Union Bank. These investments have ensured it gained a significant foothold in several markets including Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe and Nigeria.
Union Bank is one of Nigeria’s oldest banks after being established as a Colonial Bank in 1917. Until the 1970s when foreigners were forced to give up ownership of Banks operating within Nigeria, it was wholly owned by Barclays.