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FirstRand Bank may acquire 75% stake in Merchant Bank

South African FirstRand Bank is likely to acquire a 75% stake in Merchant Bank within the next two months, after the formal approval by the Bank of Ghana, the central bank of country.

In its interim financial result, the lender signaled that it expects to finalize the deal for nearly R746.2m and also hopes to get double-digit increase in earnings during the second half of its financial year.

The deal, which was initially announced last year, could not be materialized due to various reasons and the lender is still looking for central bank clearance.

In an interview, FirstRand CEO Sizwe Nxasana said options were being assessed with the three Amcon banks.

The bank is also considering strengthening its footprint in Nigeria by acquiring a retail bank including the three owned by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (Amcon), which holds Mainstreet, Keystone and Enterprise Bank.

In the country, the lender is already managing Rand Merchant Bank, which will enable it to roll banking product and services suitable for Nigerian market.

In the six months to end in December, FirstRand registered a 25% increase in normalized earnings to R7.2bn.