VENTURES AFRICA – Caribbean-based lender, Republic Bank of Trinidad and Tobago has written to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of Ghana to fully take over HFC Bank.
The Caribbean bank is now the largest shareholder of HFC bank with 32.02 percent stake.
This comes after Republic Bank acquired more than 68 million shares from the Aureos Africa Fund at 56 pesewas per share last Friday. Aureos was one of the largest shareholders in HFC Bank.
These revelations were made by HFC bank during a media briefing session organized by the Ghana Stock Exchange in the capital, Accra.
Republic Bank will make a mandatory offer to all shareholders of HFC under the Code on Takeovers and Mergers, subject to Bank of Ghana’s (the Central Bank) approval.
This is in the event that a waiver is not granted by the SEC.
Reports indicate that the auditors of Republic Bank have confirmed it has sufficient resources to satisfy a full acceptance of a mandatory offer to all the other shareholders.
HFC Bank was given a universal banking license in 2003 and currently has 26 branches. The bank’s specialty is in mortgage financing and it currently control’s about 30 percent share of the mortgage financing market in Ghana, according to a statement on its website.
In December last year, Republic Bank acquired an 8.79 percent stake in HFC Bank for $8 million when HFC bank went on a private placement of funds. The private placement was to enable HFC to meet a minimum capital requirement set by the Bank of Ghana for all local banks.
Republic Bank is one of the biggest banking institutions in the Eastern Caribbean with branches in Granada, Barbados, Guyana and the Cayman Islands. Republic has total assets of about $7 billion dollars and strong expertise in oil and gas finance.
In December 2012 after the private placement, Republic Bank said in a statement that it bought the stake “in keeping with its expansion strategy and its focus on areas outside of its traditional Caribbean markets.”
Commenting on the private placement invest in HFC in last year, Republic’s Managing Director, David Dulal-Whiteway said “Africa, and in particular Ghana has been a key growth area for international business, and several of our Trinidad and Tobago corporate clients have been actively exploring those markets.”