According to the Central Bank of Nigeria, 25 firms have been invited to participate in the sale of Polaris Bank Limited through 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 stated that the CBN’s attention had been drawn to a fraudulent, malicious, and misleading online publication that made several false claims about the recent sale of the Federal Government’s interest in Polaris Bank Ltd.
Given the potentially serious implications for the bank’s, financial sector’s, and Nigerian economy’s stability, he stated that the CBN was compelled to correct these inaccuracies.
“For the record, the public is referred to the statement dated October 20, 2022 by CBN & AMCON announcing the sale of 100% equity in Polaris Bank to a new core investor, Strategic Capital Investment Limited, wherein it provided copious details of the sale process,” he said.
“Contrary to claims in the aforementioned online publication, the divestment from Polaris Bank was overseen by a divestment committee comprised of senior AMCON and CBN representatives and supported by reputable legal and financial advisers.
“In addition, the divestment mode, process, and decision received the necessary board and regulatory approvals. No other party ever made 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.
“However, Fairview Acquisition Partners, along with 24 other parties, was invited by the financial advisors to participate in the sale process through the execution of a non-disclosure agreement, the first stage of the process.”
He also stated that the financial advisors informed the committee that despite verbally confirming receipt of the agreement and following up with the financial advisors, Fairview Acquisition Partners did not execute or return the NDA.
‘As a result, Fairview Acquisition Partners did not take advantage of the opportunity to update their offer by participating in the divestment process and, as a result, did not make a binding purchase offer for Polaris Bank,” he said.
According to him, the divestment was carried out in accordance with applicable laws, global best practices for bank resolutions, and the necessary regulatory approvals.
He stated that the committee, in collaboration 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, and other factors.