25 Firms Invited For Polaris Bank Sale – CBN
The Central Bank of Nigeria has said 25 firms were invited to participate in the sale process of Polaris Bank Limited via the execution of a non-disclosure agreement.
The Director of Corporate Communications, CBN, Osita Nwanisobi, said this in a statement titled, ‘Sale of Polaris Bank: CBN sets record straight’.
He said the attention of CBN had been drawn to a spurious, malicious, and misleading online publication, which made several false claims concerning the recent sale of the Federal Government’s interest in Polaris Bank Ltd.
Given the potentially grave implications for the stability of the bank, financial sector and the Nigerian economy, he noted, the CBN was constrained to correct these inaccuracies.
He said, “For the records, the public is referred to the statement dated October 20, 2022 by CBN & AMCON announcing the sale of 100 per cent equity in Polaris Bank to a new core investor, Strategic Capital Investment Limited, wherein it provided copious details of the process by which the sale was conducted.
“Contrary to claims in the aforementioned online publication, the divestment from Polaris Bank was supervised by a divestment committee comprising of senior representatives of AMCON and CBN, and supported by reputable legal and financial advisers.
“In addition, the divestment mode, process and decision received requisite board and regulatory approvals. At no time did any other party make a higher purchase offer as falsely claimed by the online publication.
“The entity in question, Fairview Acquisition Partners, had indicated an interest in acquiring two banks, including Polaris Bank, for a total sum of N1.2tn, an indicative offer which significantly discounted the existing N1.31tn debt owed by Polaris Bank to AMCON and so represented a material loss to the Federal Government.
“Notwithstanding, along with 24 other parties, Fairview Acquisition Partners was invited by the financial advisors to participate in the sale process via the execution of a non-disclosure agreement, the first stage of the process.”
He added that the financial advisors informed the committee that Fairview Acquisition Partners neither executed nor returned the NDA despite verbally confirming receipt of the agreement and after follow-up from the financial advisors.
‘Therefore, Fairview Acquisition Partners did not take the opportunity to update their offer by participating in the divestment process and thus did not make a binding purchase offer for Polaris Bank,” he said.
According to him, the divestment was executed based on the relevant laws, global best practices for bank resolutions, and requisite regulatory approvals.
He said the committee, along with its legal and financial advisers, conducted a rigorous technical and financial evaluation of the purchase proposals, assessing promoters’ fitness and propriety, offer price received vs. reserve price, funding structure and financial capacity, strategy and growth plans, among others.