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Bank of Ghana to Société Générale – We don’t want any surprises

Societe Generale

The Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Dr. Ernest Addison, has informed the management of Société Générale Ghana that the central bank does not want any surprises regarding the list of individuals interested in acquiring shares in the bank. Governor Addison said the central bank has not yet received any formal information on the next line of action of the bank.

The Management of Société Générale Ghana had said in a statement on Thursday, May 9 that the Société Générale Group had initiated a strategic review. Société Générale Ghana assured that it would communicate further details at the appropriate time according to applicable legislation.

“Societe Generale Ghana has been informed that Societe Generale Group, which holds 60.22% of Societe Generale Ghana, has initiated a strategic review. If a concrete development were to be decided, a subsequent communication will be made at the appropriate time according to applicable legislation,” the statement said. On Wednesday, May 8, the Managing Director of Societe Generale Ghana, Hakim Ouzzani, described the media reports that the bank was exiting Ghana as rumours. Mr. Ouzzani said that the report did not come from the bank.

He assured that the bank remains committed to its group strategy to strengthen its capital base since 2023. “Some rumours have indeed taken root regarding SG Ghana. But it’s important to mention to all our stakeholders and our shareholders that the news item being circulated in the media was not issued by the group nor by SG Ghana”, he said while speaking at the 44th Annual General Meeting of Societe Generale Ghana in Accra.

We don’t want to comment further,” he added. It had been reported that after nearly 20 years of operations in Ghana, the French bank had decided to withdraw from Ghana.

Société Générale has engaged investment bank Lazard to explore potential buyers for its operations in Ghana, Cameroon, and Tunisia. The report that there are indications that Absa Bank was seriously contemplating acquiring these subsidiaries. The departure of European banks from Africa, including Société Générale, is primarily attributed to the high cost-to-income ratio.

Asked whether the BoG has received information on the next line of action from the bank, Dr Addison said during the 118th Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) press conference in Accra on Monday, May 27 that “This is an area where we have not formally received any information from SG both from their group or from the office in Accra.

“I have had discussions with their office in Cote I’dvoire and I have complained that we don’t want to be surprised.

“We are hearing things in the air and we want to see the long list of those that are interested in acquiring their shares, we do not even want to see the shortlist. So I have expressed those concerns to their representatives in their Cote D’Ivoire office and hopefully, we will hear something from the group very soon.”

By:  Laud Nartey

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