Merchant Bank Hot

Shareholders of Merchant Bank Ghana Limited cannot fathom why their company held an Annual General Meeting (AGM) without any records on its performance for the 2012 financial year.

The shareholders told CITY & BUSINESS GUIDE that the ill-treatment by managers of the bank was unusual and as such should be investigated by the Bank of Ghana.

They also fear the bank’s coffers had been depleted for which reason their expectations as shareholders could not be met in the form of dividend payments.

When the paper called at the head office of Merchant Bank Wednesday in Accra, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) could only communicate to the receptionist via telephone that she was in a meeting and therefore she could not speak to the reporter.

CITY & BUSINESS GUIDE contacted the bank’s reception again yesterday to enquire about the issue after several attempts.

Eventually, the PRO told the paper that the Bank of Ghana had given a directive to the effect that certain issues should be put right in the report before it gets to shareholders.

Commenting on the takeover by a South Africa’s First Rand Bank, she said the development was being assessed by the Central Bank.

Contrary to the impression created by President John Dramani Mahama that he had blocked the controversial sale of Ghanaian-owned Merchant Bank to First Rand Bank of South Africa, the South African conglomerate, in its latest financial report, disclosed that it would start full operations in Ghana from June 2013.

From the unaudited financial report of First Rand Bank available to  this paper , the bank indicated plans for the final takeover of Merchant Bank.

‘The Group is awaiting final regulatory approvals relating to its offer for Merchant Bank Ghana (MBG) and expects to conclude this transaction in the second half of the financial year.’

In the early part of 2012, state-owned pension giant, Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), the majority shareholder (98 percent) of MBG, and the bank’s management concluded arrangements for 75 percent stake of MBG valued at US$ 91 million to be sold to the South African entity.

Government officials have also mounted several media platforms to debunk reports on the sale. In August 22, 2012, Reuters reported that First Rand had already paid $91million for a majority stake in Merchant Bank.

By Samuel Boadi