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BOG demands list of all persons, institutions interested in acquiring shares of SG Ghana

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Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Dr. Ernest Addison has announced that the central bank will require a comprehensive list of individuals and organizations interested in acquiring shares of Societe Generale (SG) Ghana.

Initial reports indicated that SG Group in France, which owns 60.22% of SG Ghana, is planning to sell its shares and leave the country as part of a strategic move.

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During a press briefing to announce the policy rate, Dr. Addison responded to inquiries on the matter, stating that the Bank of Ghana has formally informed SG Bank through its subsidiary in Cote D’Ivoire to provide his office with all forthcoming plans regarding share sales.

“I have engaged with their Cote D’Ivoire office and emphasized our desire not to be caught off guard. While we’ve heard rumblings, we want a comprehensive list of potential share buyers. I’ve communicated these concerns to their Cote D’Ivoire office, and we anticipate a response soon,” he remarked.

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He clarified that the Bank of Ghana has not received any official communication from SG and is thus taking proactive measures by reaching out to the bank.

“We haven’t received official confirmation from SG, either from their headquarters or their Accra office. Our aim is to ascertain the list of potential share purchasers, and we’ve expressed this concern. Hopefully, we’ll receive a response from the group soon,” he reiterated.

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Background information reveals that Hakim Ouzzani, the Managing Director of SG Ghana, previously stated that the news of the bank exiting the Ghanaian market did not originate from the Group Head Office in France. This statement was made during the Bank’s Annual General Meeting in Accra, after which Ouzzani declined further questions.

In a report by Fitch Ratings, it was projected that SG’s departure from Africa would create opportunities for pan-African banks to expand, either organically or through mergers and acquisitions. Despite potential short-term challenges, this move was expected to foster competition and benefit local banking sectors.

SG has recently announced the sale of Societe Generale Marocaine de Banques (SGMB) and its subsidiaries to the Moroccan conglomerate Saham Group, following a trend of African divestments by French banks in recent years.

The exit of highly rated foreign shareholders, such as SG, can pose challenges for divested subsidiaries in terms of credit ratings and access to global financial systems. However, this shift also presents opportunities for local and regional banks in Africa to grow and compete with established institutions.

As French banks refocus on more mature markets in Europe, their reduced presence in African banking is viewed as slightly positive, aligning with their risk strategies and regulatory environments.

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