Sterling Bank to increase branch networks, says no merger/acquisition for now

Sterling Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Abubakar Suleiman, has disclosed that there are plans in the works to significantly increase the total number of the bank’s branches in some important cities and state capitals across Nigeria.

New branches will also be established in villages and small communities as part of the expansion plan, he said. The expansion will happen this 2019.

According to Mr Suleiman who was speaking to Daily Trust during an interview, Sterling Bank currently has less than two hundred branches across the country. And this is not enough. Hence, the need to increase it.

He also spoke about a number of other issues relating to the bank, including a speculated acquisition/merger involving Sterling Bank Plc.

He recalled that the bank has already had its fair share of mergers and acquisitions in the past, and understands that a whole lot of factors will have to be considered if again it must make such a move in the future. Such factors include the macro and environmental variables and the opportunities they present to Sterling Bank, he said.

With all these in view, therefore, he said any potential acquisition/merger remains a probability.

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In his own words,

“To that extent, we won’t say the opportunity for acquisition is something that is completely off the table. Let me just say that right now, given how powerful our growth trajectory is and how strong our emerging culture has become, we are very reluctant to dilute that. We are, therefore, very careful in making choices regarding a merger or an acquisition.”

Speaking further about the bank’s role in the oil and gas sector, Mr Suleiman said Sterling Bank has a significant loan book in the sector, seeing as it has invested a lot in major oil projects. The bank continues to support a lot of the operators in the downstream sector.

On the challenges faced by the bank, the CEO said time is the biggest constraint. This is because they have very little time to execute the plans they have set out.

But the bank has been able to record significant growth in recent times. According to its financial statement for the third quarter of 2018 period ended September 31st, revenue grew from N95 billion to N115 billion; representing a 21.09%.

In the same vein, profit after tax also increased by 38.1% from N5.9 billion in 2017 to N8.2 billion.

Sterling Bank Plc’s stock is currently trading at N1.97 on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

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