VENTURES AFRICA – The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a unit of the World Bank, would help boost the availability of loans to small and medium-sized businesses in Nigeria, and the capital base of Diamond Bank Plc, after it declared that it would buy $70 million worth of convertible loans from the bank.
On Wednesday, Diamond Bank’s share rose 1.4 percent to an 11-week high on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), bucking the trend on a weak bourse, to value the lender at around 41 billion naira ($254 million).
Speaking about the investment, IFC’s Marcos Brujis said: “The investment provides a unique opportunity … to support Diamond Bank’s expansion into key economic sectors that have relatively low banking penetration.”
Diamond bank has over 200 branches in Nigeria offering services in retail banking, corporate Banking, and public sector. According to a Business Day report, shares in the mid-tier bank gained almost 46 percent this year, compared to a 30 percent overall rise in Africa’s second-largest economy’s banking sector.
Last month, the bank also reported a fourfold increase in first-half profits to 9.99 billion naira ($62 million) and raised its return on equity (ROE) target for the year to 15 percent from 10 percent.
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