Moroccan group buys French bank out of West and Central Africa

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Maghreb’s leading banking and financial group, Attijariwafa Bank (AWB), will in 2006 hold 59% of the share capital of the Union Gabonaise de Banques (UGB) which recently acquired Crédit Agricole (CA), banking sources said Friday.

UGB Managing Director François Hoffman said the Group’s development strategy represented “an opportunity for Attajariwafa Bank which is seeking to expand in Sub-Saharan Africa and this operation has nothing to do with the financial crisis in the US which has affected the Crédit Agricole”.

A memorandum of understanding was signed between the French Group Crédit agricole and Attijariwafa (AWB), Africa’s seventh banking group, which is established in West and Central Africa with the aim of conquering new territories for investments.

Under the new arrangement, the sign ‘Crédit Agricole’ should disappear from the head office of the Union Gabonaise de banque and its branches by the time the banking merger is finalized with the Gabonese State and the banking regulation body.

Crédit Agricole has sold its shares in the network of retail banks set up in Sub-Saharan African countries to the Maghreb leading banking and financial group.

This operation conducted in Gabon will expand to retail banking institutions in Congo (Crédit du Congo, 81% of the share capital), Côte d’Ivoire (Société Ivoirienne de Banques for 51%), Cameroon (Société Camerounaise de banques for 65%), and Senegal (Crédit du Sénégal for 95%).

UGB is a limited liability company, established in 1962 in Libreville.

Its current share capital is FCFA7.4 billion (US$ 14 million) and workforce is a bout 240.

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