Standard Chartered (STAN.L) has announced its agreement to sell its subsidiaries in sub-Saharan Africa to Nigeria’s Access Bank, initiating the divestment plan announced last year for those businesses. As part of the deal, Standard Chartered will sell its shareholding in subsidiaries located in Angola, Cameroon, Gambia, and Sierra Leone to Access Bank. Additionally, it will divest its consumer, private, and business banking business in Tanzania to Access Bank, a subsidiary of Access Holdings (ACCESSCORP.LG).
The decision by Standard Chartered to sell its African subsidiaries aligns with its strategy to improve profitability by focusing on faster-growing markets in the Africa and Middle East (AME) region. Last year, the bank revealed plans to exit seven countries in AME as part of its efforts to achieve operational efficiencies, reduce complexity, and drive scale.
Standard Chartered stated in a press release, “Access Bank will provide a full range of banking services and continuity for key stakeholders, including employees and clients of Standard Chartered’s businesses across the five aforementioned countries.” The agreement aims to ensure a smooth transition for all parties involved.
The value of the deal has not been disclosed, but it is expected to be completed within the next year, subject to regulatory approvals in each country, including Nigeria. The move enables Standard Chartered to reallocate resources within the AME region to areas with significant growth potential, according to Sunil Kaushal, Standard Chartered’s regional CEO for AME.
The agreement will also benefit Access Bank, allowing it to strengthen its global franchise and serve as a gateway for payments, investment, and trade within Africa and between Africa and the rest of the world. With recent expansions in Europe and a deepened presence in key trading corridors across Africa, Access Bank aims to bridge the gap between cross-border and domestic transfers in its operations.
The divestment of Standard Chartered’s subsidiaries in sub-Saharan Africa signifies a strategic shift for both banks, enabling them to optimize their operations and focus on their respective growth strategies. The completion of the deal will mark a significant milestone in the ongoing transformation of the banking landscape in the region.