Sale of Merchant bank to FORTIZ raises serious concerns

Sale of Merchant bank to FORTIZ raises serious concerns
Source: Ghana |
Date: 04-11-2013 Time: 06:11:55:pm

The sale of Merchant Bank to FORTIZ appears not to have gone down well with some interest groups and sections of the public.  

While some bother on the capacity of FORTIZ to run Merchant Bank, some were also concerned about whether FORTIZ proposal was the best among those who applied to take over the Merchant Bank.

According to documents in possession of Joy Business, three institutions formally applied to take over Merchant Bank: UT Bank, SABRE Advisors, and FORTIZ equity fund.

According to the transaction advisors, SABRE was prepared to invest 200 million Ghana in Merchant Bank. But they withdrew their offer after their request for extension to submit a detail offer was not granted.

UT Bank on the other hand wanted to invest 150 million Ghana cedis. But they also withdrew their offer.

There were also proposal from Fidelity Bank to acquire Merchant Bank for 35 million dollars and merge the two institutions, but their offer could not reach the transaction advisors.

Fidelity wanted to give SSNIT and SIC Life 28 percent stake in the new entity after the merger.  They also planned to inject additional 100 million dollars to help recapitalize Merchant Bank.

Joy Business has learnt that FORTIZ planned to invest 36 million Ghana cedis for a 100 percent stake in Merchant Bank.

It is emerging however that FORTIZ is buying Merchant for 90 million Ghana cedis in return for 90 percent stake. The initial proposal sent to SSNIT through KPMG also shows that, FORTIZ wanted to buy Merchant Bank and sell it out to an international partner to help restructure and rebrand  it.

There is also another interest group which is trying to compare the current deal from FORTIZ to that of First Rand.

While First Rand was prepared to invest 176.4 million Ghana cedis for 75 percent in Merchant Bank, FORTIZ is investing 90 million Ghana cedis. Another, issue that has come up is what would be SSNIT's stake after the acquisition, While, FORTIZ's deal would leave the state pension trust with 8 percent, First Rand's deal would give SSINT 23 percent stake. 

Finally, the issue about the 175 million Ghana cedis bad debts on the books of Merchant Bank,  First Rand was prepared to appoint an independent company to collect the debt and pay to SSNIT, however  FORTIZ is planning to  collect 30 percent of the debt and pass on the remaining to SSNIT to collect. 


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