UPDATED: AMCON Sells Keystone Bank to local investors

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LAGOS, March 20  – Nigeria’s state-backed ‘bad bank’ AMCON has sold the nationalised Keystone Bank to a consortium of local investors called Sigma Golf Nigeria Limited and Riverbank Investment Resources, it said on Monday.

Keystone Bank was the last of the lenders nationalised in Nigeria, which state-backed AMCON was seeking to sell. It was one of three banks nationalised following a $4 billion central bank bailout that saved several lenders from near bankruptcy in 2009.

In a statement, the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) said the consortium had been picked out of 18 local and international bidders in a sale coordinated by Citibank and FBN Capital.

It had sought bidders for the sale of its 100 percent stake in Keystones. The brief AMCON statement did not disclose the sales price or any financial details. It also didn’t say who owns the investment firms buying the bank.

AMCON “is pleased to announce Sigma Golf Nigeria Limited and Riverbank Investment Resources Limited (the Sigma Golf – Riverbank consortium) as the new investors,” it said.

Nigeria nationalised three lenders, Afribank, Spring Bank and Bank PHB in 2011. AMCON then recapitalised them and changed their names to Mainstreet Bank, Enterprise Bank and Keystone Bank. Two of the banks have since been sold.

AMCON was set up in 2010 to absorb non-performing loans in exchange for government bonds, after the central bank injected $4 billion to rescue nine lenders from collapse seven years ago.

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