South Africa’s First
Rand is set to acquire a majority stake in Nigerian-based lender
Sterling Bank.

First Rand has been
eyeing up acquisition opportunities in Nigeria since the country’s
central bank injected around NGN620bn ($4.1bn) of bail out
funds into nine troubled Nigerian lenders in 2009.

Last December, First
Rand said that Nigeria, as well as Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania and
Angola represented international markets of interest.

For the 12 months to 31
December, Sterling Bank returned to the black, posting a net profit
of NGN5.04bn, having lost over NGN7bn the previous year.

Total assets grew by
25.2% to NGN277.1bn; deposits increased by 25.8% to NGN203.0bn
while net loans and advances rose by 28% to NGN100.3bn.

Sterling Bank ended 2010
with a branch network of around 100 outlets.