South African bank awarded Nigerian business license

money sxcSouth Africa-based Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) has secured a merchant banking licence from Nigeria which permits it to establish a corporate and investment company in the country

Chief executive officer of FirstRand group, parent company of RMB, Sizwe Nxasana, said that the bank would begin business in Nigeria by December 2012, either by acquiring a retail and commercial bank in the west African nation, or by launching a new firm.

Last year, it almost closed a deal for the acquisition of Nigeria’s Sterling Bank for an estimated US$400mn but backed out because of the high acquisition cost.

The eventual introduction into the Nigerian market presents good opportunities for FirstRand, which had been eyeing the infrastructure and oil and gas sectors of Africa’s second largest economy.

The FirstRand group has aggressively pursued expansion into different regions of the African market. Recently, it established presence in East Africa, operating from Kenya and financing Kenya-India trade.

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