UPDATE 1-Nigeria's Guaranty Trust eyes acquisitions abroad

Mon Jul 23, 2007 4:08pm BST

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ABUJA, July 23 (Reuters) - Nigeria's Guaranty Trust Bank GTB.LG wants to expand into francophone countries in Africa by acquiring local banks, Managing Director Tayo Aderinokun told Reuters on Monday.

Aderinokun was speaking on the first day of trade on the London Stock Exchange of Guaranty Trust's Global Depository Receipts (GDRs), which rose to $11.60 from their launch price of $11.20. The bank raised $750 million through the GDR offer.

"We have ambitions to extend our reach beyond anglophone West Africa," Aderinokun said in answer to a question about what the bank planned to do with the money it had raised.

"We believe we will most likely go into francophone Africa through acquisitions because it's a new market and we don't speak the language and it's easier that way. It's in the works," he said by telephone from London where he has been supervising the GDR offer.

Guaranty Trust covers most of anglophone West Africa with branches in Ghana, Gambia and Sierra Leone and plans to open in Liberia soon, he said.

Aderinokun said Guaranty Trust was the first African bank to list on the London Stock Exchange. The operation brings the bank's market capitalisation to about $3.8 billion, he said.

The bank's shares, which have roughly doubled in price over the past 12 months, were down 1.5 naira at 33 naira (26 U.S. cents) per share in Lagos at 1500 GMT on Monday.

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