VENTURES AFRICA – Morocco’s stock exchange regulator, Conseil Déontologique des Valeurs Mobilières (CDVM), has suspended trading in the country’s second-biggest lender Banque Centrale Populaire (BCP), it announced Thursday that the sanction was approved pending an important announcement.
However, CDVM did details nor reasons for the suspension and when the announcement would be published.
Traders on the Casablanca bourse have linked the the sanctions to possible acquisition of a bank in Africa.
According to a senior trader: “There is market talk of a deal involving the acquisition by BCP of a 30 percent stake in Banque Atlantique, but it’s not yet clear whether the deal involves parent company Groupe Banque Atlantique, which is active in eight west African countries, or only its Ivorian subsidiary”
BCP may announce the acquisition of a stake in Ivorian lender Banque Atlantique, which has a total balance sheet of around $1.5 billion. BCP has a market capitalisation near 31 billion dirhams ($3.5 billion).
Two months ago, French cooperative bank BPCE announced an agreement to buy a 5 percent stake in BCP Banque Centrale Populaire (BCP) under a capital increase plan.
Last year, the Moroccan government also traded 20 percent stake in BCP to raise 5.3 billion dirham ($600 million) as funds where needed to curb street protests inspired by the Arab Spring revolts which threatened public finances.
BCP already has affiliates in Guinea and the Central African Republic. Its immediate rivals AttijariWafa Bank and BMCE Bank have deeper presences in the continent, with major overseas offices in Germany, England, Canada, Spain, France, Gibraltar, Netherlands and Belgium.
As of 2010, the bank’s market share of customer deposits in Morocco was 27 percent, which translates to customer deposits of 169.8 trillion dirham ($19.1 trillion).
It ranks 72nd on the list of Top 250 African Companies, a good ten feet behind competitors AttijariWafa Bank, 19th and Banque Morrocaine du commerce (BMCE), 31st on the same list.