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Access Holdings Sees Payments, Pensions, Insurance Leading Next Growth Phase

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Access Holdings (HoldCo) Plc will set up a payments, pensions and insurance business as subsidiaries to help lead its next growth phase.

“In some cases the subsidiaries will be licensed to operate outside Nigeria,” Herbert Wigwe, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Access Holdings said at a briefing in Lagos yesterday.

“We will be growing these businesses organically and inorganically and our investments in them will be made using our retained earnings,” Wigwe said.

Access recently increased its equity stake in payments firm E-tranzact to 23.8 percent in a bid to play more aggressively in the fintech space. As at 31st December, the fair value of the Bank’s investment in E-tranzact was N3.16 billion

Access has grown rapidly over the past 20 years, going from a small corporate focused bank to becoming Nigeria’s largest bank by assets, achieved largely through  acquisitions of Intercontinental and Diamond Bank.

Wigwe is not concerned about competing with the dominant players currently in the sectors the bank is targeting, citing Access Bank’s history of execution.

“We have come to compete and are not worried about anyone,” Wigwe said.

Access Holdings (HoldCo) entire issued share capital of 35,545,225,622 ordinary shares of 50 Kobo each were on 28 March 2022, listed on the Daily Official List of NGX at N9.95 per share.

The delisting of Access Bank and listing of Access HoldCo on the NGX is pursuant to the Scheme of Arrangement between Access Bank Plc and the holders of its fully paid ordinary shares of 50 Kobo each as approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission and sanctioned by the Court.

Access Bank Plc had earlier announced that it has received the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Approval-in-Principle for the Bank’s restructuring to a holding company (“HoldCo”).

The proposed HoldCo structure would enable the Bank to further accelerate its objectives around business diversification, improved operational efficiencies, talent retention as well as robust governance and Africa expansion.

Rest of Africa operations now make up 30 percent of operations for Access Bank , Wigwe said.

Access trades at less than 1 times book value and has a market capitalization of N353 billion.

This compares with rivals Guaranty Trust Holding Company PLC (GTCO) and Zenith Bank which have market capitalizations of N685 billion and of N729 billion, respectively.

Wigwe acknowledged that Access Holdings stock is still undervalued by the market, for now. “We believe that will be corrected over time as we continue to execute on our plans,” he said.

Wigwe identified ability to retain talent due to brain drain and security from cyber attacks as the major challenges the bank faces as it goes about executing its growth strategy, but believes the bank is well positioned to overcome them.

“We want to be among the top 5 banks in Africa by 2027,” Wigwe said.

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