Nigeria’s Diamond Bank expects to conclude sale of UK unit this year

A view of the Diamond Bank is seen along the Lekki-Epe Expressway in Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria September 12, 2017. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye

LAGOS, Aug 7 – Nigeria’s Diamond Bank expects to conclude the sale of its British unit before the end of the year and is going through a change of ownership, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

The mid-tier lender struck a deal with British industrialist Sanjeev Gupta earlier this year after selling its West African subsidiaries last year.

In May, Diamond Bank posted a 2017 loss, its first time in the red in six years after selling assets to conserve capital and to focus on its home market.

Its half-year 2018 pretax profit declined 69 percent to 2.92 billion naira, hurting its shares, which fell a further 1.60 percent on Tuesday.

Diamond Bank said it expected loan growth to return, growing five percent this year after credit declined in the first half by 3.6 percent.

Weak economic growth hurt loan growth in Nigeria last year. However, as the economy improves the bank expects loans to grow especially as the central bank introduces liquidity to the banking sector targeting credit to manufacturers.

“The loan growth would come from corporate banking. With the turnaround in GDP we would begin to see opportunities in fast moving consumers good, manufacturing,” the bank said on a call with analysts.

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