FirstRand Africa Expansion Efforts Suffer Setback As Ghana Talks Fail

Written by Ann Brown

From Money Web

FirstRand Ltd. said talks to buy Merchant Bank Ghana failed, setting back the efforts of South Africa’s second-largest financial services company to build a presence in West Africa.

“Despite all reasonable endeavors, the parties were unable to reach agreement on the commercial principles underlying the transaction,” Sam Moss, investor relations director of Johannesburg-based FirstRand, said in an e-mailed statement today. “The transaction cannot be completed and has lapsed.”

The failure of the negotiations with the Ghanaian bank come after FirstRand ended talks to buy Nigeria’s Sterling Bank Plc in 2011 as the parties were unable to agree on terms. FirstRand offered to buy 75% of Merchant Bank Ghana for about R750 million ($74.7 million) last year after Chief Executive Officer Sizwe Nxasana said in 2010 that the South African lender intended to enter Nigeria and Ghana.