S.Africa's FirstRand: no longer keen on Nigeria's Enterprise

JOHANNESBURG Wed May 22, 2013 11:17am EDT

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JOHANNESBURG May 22 (Reuters) - South Africa's FirstRand is no longer considering an acquisition of Nigeria's Enterprise Bank, although it is still keen on rivals Keystone and Mainstreet, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

FirstRand, South Africa's second-largest bank by value, had said previously it was looking at buying one of Nigeria's three nationalised banks.

"Certainly not Enterprise Bank, but Mainstreet and Keystone were the ones that are a little bit more interesting for us," Chief Executive Sizwe Nxasana told Reuters.

He also said valuations in Nigeria's banking sector had moderated.

Nigeria's "bad bank" expects to finish with the disposal of the three nationalised lenders by the third quarter of 2014. It plans to start with Enterprise.

FirstRand withdrew a bid for Nigeria's Sterling Bank last year after the two parties could not agree on pricing.

The lender is still awaiting regulatory approval for its planned purchase of a stake in Merchant Bank Ghana but was not pursuing any other opportunities in the oil-producing west African country, Nxasana said. (Reporting by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura; editing by David Dolan)

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