Published: August 29, 2023
The acquisition will position Vista Group as a ‘catalyst for economic development’ across 16 countries in West and Central Africa.
On 10th August 2023, Vista Group announced the acquisition of a 61.4% stake in Oragroup SA. Oragroup is the holding company of Orabank, which operates in 12 countries across West and Central Africa. Subject to regulatory approvals, the combined entity will be a Tier 1 banking group, covering 272 branches across 16 countries. It will represent assets of more than US$10bn.
“This acquisition ties into our expansion strategy, which is to be in 25 African countries by 2025,” Simon Tiemtore, chairman of Vista Group and founder of Lilium Capital, tells EMEA Finance. “When the transaction is approved by the Central Bank, we’ll cover 100% of the West Africa Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), about 30-40% of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC), and about 50% of the West Africa Monetary Zone (WAMZ). So that’s three strategic economic regions, in the fastest growing region in the world.”
An attractive acquisition
Vista Group is a financial services holding company, controlled by Lilium Capital, with a mission to become a leading pan-African banking institution. It seeks to promote economic and financial inclusion across Africa, as well as intra-African trade.
Over the past few years, it has pursued an ambitious growth strategy, having acquired BNP Paribas’ subsidiaries in Burkino Faso and Guinea and (pending approvals) Societe Generale’s banks in Congo Brazzaville and Equatorial Guinea. The Orabank transaction will expand its reach to Togo, Cote D’Ivoire, Benin, Senegal, Burkina-Faso, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Tchad, Gabon and Mauritania.
The sellers are a consortium of investors, led by the majority shareholder Emerging Capital Partners (ECP), which has supported the bank since 2008. The minority institutional shareholders Envol Africque, Proparco, BIO, and DEG will be exiting Orabank too.
“Normally when the majority owner exits, some of the minority owners will follow,” comments Tiemtore. “This creates an opportunity for us to continue, bringing all the skill sets and knowhow that have fuelled our own growth strategy. Remember, we went from a distressed banking group in 2016, to successfully integrating the BNP Paribas assets into our platform and creating the current Vista Group.”