MONTREAL, March 25, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - National Bank of Canada ("National Bank") today announced that it is purchasing a stake in NSIA Participations ("NSIA"), a financial group headquartered in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, with operations in 12 countries across West and Central Africa.
With this transaction, National Bank and Amethis Africa Finance ("Amethis Finance") acquire the equity stake held by private equity fund ECP Africa Fund III PCC in NSIA. National Bank will have a 20.9% interest, while that of Amethis Finance will be 5.4%. This deal should be concluded in the third quarter of 2015, subject to customary closing conditions and receipt of regulatory approvals.
NSIA is a major financial services group providing a wide range of banking and insurance products and services to individual and business clients. NSIA is the leading insurance group in French-speaking Africa and the third largest banking institution in Côte d'Ivoire. It has 25 subsidiaries, 58 bank branches, 42 insurance agencies and assets totalling more than 1.2 billion euros.
"NSIA has an impressive track record, thanks to the leadership of its founder, Jean Kacou Diagou, and its sound business vision," stated Louis Vachon, President and Chief Executive Officer of National Bank. "We are confident that the expertise of NSIA, combined with the skills and business network of Amethis Finance in Africa, will be a distinctive source of value creation for National Bank."
"We are very pleased to partner with National Bank of Canada, and we are fully supportive of its development project for Africa, its financial strength and ethical and governance requirements. This partnership is a long-term alliance intended to create value for both of our institutions as well as promote economic development in Africa. The participation of Amethis Finance, an investment vehicle specialized in Africa, is an additional asset for NSIA," said Jean Kacou Diagou, President of NSIA.
This investment is aligned with National Bank's strategy of expanding its international presence through targeted equity acquisitions. To do so, it identifies geographic markets offering attractive long-term growth potential and invests, in a disciplined manner, in well-established institutions so as to jointly build a strong regional presence. In recent months, the Bank has acquired interests in institutions located in Cambodia (Asia) and Mauritius (Africa).
West and Central Africa remain under-served in terms of financial services and have strong growth potential, with a population of more than 490 million inhabitants. In addition to having a large pool of companies with whom Canada can strengthen business ties, the region is predominantly French speaking, which gives National Bank a competitive advantage.
About NSIA Participations
NSIA Participations is a financial services group comprising banking and insurance products and services. Founded in 1995, it boasts an enviable geographic diversification with its network of subsidiaries and branches in Benin, Cameroon, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo. It has more than 1,500 employees, and also 1,500 insurance agents and approximately 500 insurance brokers.
About Amethis Finance
Amethis Finance is an investment vehicle dedicated to Africa, with a total investment capacity of USD 530 million. Amethis Finance has been created by a team of experienced investors and bankers led by Luc Rigouzzo and Laurent Demey and by La Compagnie Benjamin de Rothschild, subsidiary of the Edmond de Rothschild Group. They have been joined by a large group of private investors combining financial institutions and family offices. Amethis Finance is a "one stop shop" which provides all long-term financial instruments (long-term debt, equity and quasi equity investment), with high standards and objectives in terms of development, social and governance criteria. Amethis Finance's ambition is to tap into the significant potential offered by the financial institutions landscape in Sub-saharan Africa and to dedicate 40% of its activity to this industry.
About National Bank of Canada
With $214 billion in assets as at January 31, 2015, National Bank of Canada (www.nbc.ca), together with its subsidiaries, forms one of Canada's leading integrated financial groups. The Bank has more than 20,000 employees and is widely recognized as a top employer. Its securities are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: NA). Follow the Bank's activities via social media and learn more about its extensive community involvement at clearfacts.ca and commitment.nationalbank.ca.
Forward looking information
From time to time, the Bank makes written and oral forward-looking statements, such as those contained in this press release as well as in the "Major Economic Trends" and "Outlook for National Bank" sections of the annual report for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2014 (the "Annual Report"), in other filings with Canadian securities regulators, and in other communications, for the purpose of describing the economic environment in which the Bank will operate during fiscal 2015 and the objectives it has set for itself for that period. These forward-looking statements are made in accordance with current securities legislation in Canada and the United States. They include, among others, statements with respect to the economy—particularly the Canadian and U.S. economies—market changes, observations regarding the Bank's objectives and its strategies for achieving them, the Bank's projected financial returns and certain risks faced by the Bank. These forward-looking statements are typically identified by future or conditional verbs or words such as "outlook," "believe," "anticipate," "estimate," "project," "expect," "intend," "plan," and similar terms and expressions.
By their very nature, such forward-looking statements require assumptions to be made and involve inherent risks and uncertainties, both general and specific. Assumptions about the performance of the Canadian and U.S. economies in 2015 and how that will affect the Bank's business are among the main factors considered in setting the Bank's strategic priorities and objectives and in determining its financial targets, including provisions for credit losses. In determining its expectations for economic growth, both broadly and in the financial services sector in particular, the Bank primarily considers historical economic data provided by the Canadian and U.S. governments and their agencies.
There is a strong possibility that express or implied projections contained in these forward-looking statements will not materialize or will not be accurate. The Bank recommends readers not to place undue reliance on these statements, as a number of factors, many of which are beyond the Bank's control, could cause actual future results, conditions, actions or events to differ significantly from the targets, expectations, estimates or intentions expressed in these forward-looking statements. These factors include strategic risk, credit risk, market risk, liquidity risk, operational risk, regulatory risk, reputation risk and environmental risk, which are described in more detail in the "Risk Management" section beginning on page 61 of the Annual Report, and in particular, the general economic environment and financial market conditions in Canada, the United States and certain other countries in which the Bank conducts business, including regulatory changes affecting the Bank's business, capital and liquidity; the situation with respect to the restructured notes of the master asset vehicle (MAV) conduits, in particular the realizable value of underlying assets; changes in the accounting policies the Bank uses to report its financial condition, including uncertainties associated with assumptions and critical accounting estimates; tax laws in the countries in which the Bank operates, primarily Canada and the United States (including the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)); changes to capital and liquidity guidelines and to the manner in which they are to be presented and interpreted; changes to the credit ratings assigned to the Bank; and potential disruptions to the Bank's information technology systems, including changes in the risks related to cyber-attacks. Such risks and uncertainties may also include the impact of the transaction on the business of the Bank as a whole and certain strategic benefits expected to result from the transaction. In addition, the completion and timing of the transaction are subject to closing conditions, termination rights and other risks and uncertainties. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that the transaction will occur within the timeline contemplated in this press release.
The foregoing list of risk factors is not exhaustive. Additional information about these factors can be found in the "Risk Management" and "Other Risk Factors" sections of the Annual Report. Investors and others who rely on the Bank's forward-looking statements should carefully consider the above factors as well as the uncertainties they represent and the risk they entail. Except as required by law, the Bank does not undertake to update any forward-looking statements, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time, by it or on its behalf.
The forward-looking information contained in this document is presented for the purpose of interpreting the information contained herein and may not be appropriate for other purposes.
SOURCE National Bank of Canada
For further information: (The telephone number provided below is for the exclusive use of journalists and other media representatives.): Claude Breton, Vice-President - Public Affairs and Investor Relations, National Bank of Canada, Tel.: 514-394-8644; Hélène Baril, Senior Manager - Investor Relations, National Bank of Canada, Tel.: 514-394-0296