Republic Bank (RepBank) – an independent Caribbean lender headquartered in Trinidad and Tobago, an island country off the coast of Venezuela – recently bought a significant stake in Ghana-based HFC Bank.
RepBank initially purchased an 8.9% stake in HFC in December 2012, and recently increased its shareholding to 32.02% following the acquisition of shares previously held by private equity firm Abraaj Group. The deal makes RepBank the largest single shareholder in HFC.
HFC was formed in 1990, listing on the Ghana Stock Exchange in 1995. The bank existed as an independent mortgage finance institution until 2003, when it expanded into universal banking, providing a wide variety of financial services. HFC currently has 27 branches across Ghana, and is working to expand its reach.
But why would RepBank be interested to own a part of a Ghanaian financial institution? It seems that some of its clients in the Caribbean are eager to do business in Africa.
“Africa, and in particular Ghana, has been a key growth area for international business, and several of our Trinidad and Tobago corporate clients have been actively exploring those markets,” commented David Dulal-Whiteway, RepBank’s managing director, in a statement released towards the end of 2012.