By INNOCENT ANABA
Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON, yesterday, said it was following due process in its plan to divest Federal Government’s stake in the nationalised Mainstreet Bank Limited.
The corporation spoke in a statement by its Chief Communication Officer, Kayode Lambo, reacting to a media report.
It said: “With regards to the ongoing divestment exercise of Mainstreet Bank, interested bidders were only invited to submit their expressions of interest within nine days, May 7 to 16, of the publication of the Invitation for Expression of Interest, EOI, in the acquisition of AMCON’s shareholding in the bank.
“Be informed that fairness and transparency are central to the divestment process being implemented by AMCON.
“To this end, reputable world class firms (Barclays/Afrinvest consortium and Banwo & Ighodalo) have been selected as financial and legal advisers, respectively, to work with AMCON in ensuring a seamless divestment process.
“Additionally, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Governor-designate is fully briefed on the issue and will be critical in granting regulatory approval for the eventual acquirer.
“The number of days required to submit an expression of interest is more than adequate for any serious buyer to respond with this required basic information of the entity interested to be admitted into the process and their reasons and basis for the interest.
“At this stage, bidders are neither required to conduct any due diligence on Mainstreet Bank nor are they required to provide any indication of valuation or pricing.
“The information requested from bidders are simple and basic details about their company history, experience, ownership and other general information that will enable the advisers send further information to eligible investors.
“The sale of a bank is a standardised practice all over the world and at a later stage, qualified bidders will have the opportunity to submit offers under a Request for Proposal, RFP, and thereafter conduct a due diligence exercise on the bank.
“The due diligence exercise is expected to take a longer time.
“The current EOI phase is an initial stage in which basic information is required from the intending bidders for the simple reason of knowing the entities that are interested in.
“The intended bidders are not required to make offers at this stage. The whole divestment process, which will be done in stages, is expected to take a minimum of four months.”
“The corporation is proud and excited that these banks are being re-integrated back into the private sector, and will provide support in all ways possible to see that this task in accomplished in a fair and transparent manner,” the statement added.