The Nigerian Exchange has halted trading in the shares of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) Plc, as the bank moves to its transition to a holding company.

The transaction is to enable Nigeria’s biggest lender by market value consolidate its businesses into a single group, set up payments and asset management subsidiaries.

“The suspension is necessary to prevent trading in the shares of the bank in preparation for the eventual delisting of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc from the Daily Official List of the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) and listing of the Holding Company, Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc on NGX,” the bourse said in a report on Friday.

GT Bank is optimistic the metamorphosis will help bolster profitability at a time when lenders are seeing drops in earnings from core banking business, forcing rivals like Access Bank and Sterling to also see a holdco structure as the way to go.

GTB’s outstanding shares of 29.431 billion units will be swapped on a one-for-one basis for the shares in the succeeding holding company, just as its global depository receipts will be exchanged in the same way once the transformation is completed.

Segun Agbaje, managing director GTB

The lender will be delisted from the NGX and the London Stock Exchange and re-registered as a private limited liability company, towing the path of FBN Holdings Plc and Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc.

It has in place the approval in principle of the Central Bank of Nigeria and a no objection of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

According to The Africa Report, a spokesperson of the bank said GTB is in “the concluding stage of the approval processes”.

Shares in GTB have shed 11.75 per cent so far this year, closing at N28.55 per unit on its last trading day on Thursday.

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