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20140213-184317As the deadline for submission and opening of bid documents submitted by investors for the acquisition of the defunct Spring Bank, which was rescued by the federal government in 2011 and managed by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) draws near, interested investors in the rescued bank, now known as Enterprise Bank Plc are employing every available means to outwit their competitors. The name of the game is now blackmail, as interested parties are employing all known means to smear each other’s’ name.

The Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria had on September 2nd, 2013 formally invited interested buyers to express interests in acquiring its 100 per cent stake in Enterprise Bank Limited, one of the three banks nationalized by the Federal Government in 2011.
Afribank, Spring Bank and Bank PHB were nationalized in 2011. AMCON then recapitalized them and changed their names to Mainstreet Bank, Enterprise Bank and Keystone Bank, respectively.
AMCON holds the non-performing assets of troubled banks.
The corporation had in July appointed Citigroup and Africa-focused investment bank, Vetiva Capital, to manage its divestment from Enterprise Bank.
According to the public notice, upon the receipt and evaluation of the expression of interest, a shortlist of buyers will be prepared and they will proceed to the first phase of the transaction.
Based on its 2012 audited accounts, Enterprise Bank has seven subsidiaries and 150 branches, with total assets of N263.5bn ($1.6bn) and total equity of N31.9bn ($195.3m), AMCON said in the notice.
Findings by our correspondent reveal that some Managing Directors of banks who are at the fore-front of acquiring Enterprise Bank are now being blackmailed. The smear campaign is aimed at blackmailing some interested and qualified parties from continuing with their bid to acquiring the rescued bank.
Sources close to the Managing Director of the said Banks maintained that some of them are now being singled out as perceived enemies and those perceived to be fore-runners are now being harassed and victimized.
Some of the banks at the fore-front of acquiring Enterprise Bank are Diamond Bank Plc, Heritage Bank Limited, Standard Chartered Bank, Skye Bank and other investment groups.
Others include Fidelity Bank Plc, Sterling Bank Plc, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc and investors like Taunus Holdings, Sahara Energy, Obat Oil and about 12 private equity firms backed by experienced bankers as well as financial and investment analysts.
An industry watcher, Dr. Abayomi Idowu said, ”We believe that organizations that require branch network should naturally be given an opportunity to acquire Enterprise Bank to enable them keep staff after the sale of the bank”.
Noting that the welfare of members of staff of the bank should be priority to both AMCON and the CBN he said “this should not be another era of mudsliding as the welfare of the bank and the interest of the both the nation and the bank investors should be made paramount”.
He continued: ”I can authoritatively tell you that several banks, who intend buying Enterprise Bank will close down the branches after buying it, take the money in the bank and sack the staff. This is a situation that will add more to the unemployment the administration is currently battling”.
”Banks like Diamond, Heritage and few other ones have been at the fore-front of keeping the staff of Enterprise Bank when it is eventually taken over”.
He further maintained, ”We believe that Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, (AMCON) shouldn’t be looking at the smear campaign and blackmail which has taken over the scene but rather look at the economic values of keeping the staff of Enterprise Bank and the Nigeria economy intact’. We should not allow politics come to play in every issue of our national life particularly on very critical issue that touches on the life wire of our economy like the banking sector”, he concluded.

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