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Ghana’s SEC, Republic Bank in talks for HFC Bank

Ghana’s Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) has denied Republic Bank’s application for a waiver after taking over more than a quarter of the shareholding of HFC Bank Ghana, the Trinidad and Tobago-owned bank said in a statement at the weekend.

The Ghana SEC has advised Republic Bank that it must comply with the mandatory takeover requirements and make an offer for 42.98% of the shareholding in HFC Bank Ghana Limited.

“Further to its acquisition of 32.02 % of the shareholding of HFC Bank Ghana Limited, and its application to the Securities and Exchange Commission in Ghana for a waiver of the Code on Take Overs and Mergers, Republic Bank Limited was informed by letter dated 24th June, 2013, that the Commission has denied its application for a waiver,” Republic Bank said in a statement.

Republic Bank said it was currently engaged in discussions with the Ghana SEC and the Bank of Ghana regarding the next steps in this matter.

In December, 2012, Republic Bank acquired an 8.79% stake in HFC Bank Ghana, as part of its Africa expansion strategy and on June 7, 2013 increased its shareholding to 32.02%, following the purchase of an additional portion of shares previously held by Aureos Africa Fund LLC.
Republic Bank has reiterated its interest in working with the management and staff of HFC Bank to add value to its operations.

Republic Bank Limited is an independent Caribbean bank with a history that spans 176 years of service.  It has its roots in the Colonial Bank which started business in Trinidad and Tobago in 1837, later becoming Barclays Bank Trinidad and Tobago Limited and eventually Republic Bank Limited. Republic Bank boasts a current asset base of US$8.6billion (TT$51.6 billion) and profit after taxation of US$88.09 million (TT$1.2 billion).

HFC Bank (Ghana) was licensed as a commercial bank in 2003, and today operates 26 branches throughout Ghana, providing a wide range of banking services, including mortgages and real estate services, commercial banking, investment banking, microfinance, private equity and venture capital fund management.  It was instrumental in the development of the mortgage industry in Ghana and continues to be the leading home loan provider in that country, commanding 30% of the market.  HFC Bank has an asset base of US$301 million and profit after taxation of US$7.7 million based on its last published financials.