Nigerian regional lender Wema Bank said on Thursday it will complete a 35 billion naira ($220 mln) private share placement to strategic investors by the end of April and apply to become national bank again.
Wema was one of the lenders forced to recapitalise its operations by the central bank in the wake of a financial crisis that nearly sank it and eight other lenders. It decided to meet tougher requirements by scaling down its business to become a regional bank in the 2009.
"We expect all arrangements ... to be concluded by the end of April 2013," spokeswoman Kemi Aina told Reuters, adding that the new capital will enable them seek a national license.
Regional banks can only operate in 6-12 of Nigeria's 36 states. They only need a 10 billion naira to meet the minimum capital base requirement, compared with 25 billion naira for national banks.
Wema Bank shares traded flat to close at 1.21 naira on Thursday, but they have risen 133 percent so far this year, giving it a market capitalisation of around 15.13 billion naira ($95 mln).
In November, Wema Bank said it was at an advanced stage in raising capital and that it had secured commitments for 15 billion naira from core investors, which it aimed to finalise by end of 2012.
Aina said the lender had secured commitments from core investors for the whole 35 billion naira and had won existing shareholders' approval for the deal.