Bob Diamond's fund Atlas Mara increases stake in Union Bank of Nigeria

Emma Haslett
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Bob Diamond's Atlas Mara has increased its stake in the Union Bank of Nigeria (Source: Getty)

Former Barclays chief Bob Diamond's African investment vehicle has increased its stake in a Nigerian banking group by nearly 30 per cent as it bets on the success of the country's economy.

Atlas Mara exercised an option to buy a 20.9 per cent stake in Union Bank of Nigeria from the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria for $270m (£165m), pushing its total stake up to 29.9 per cent.

Diamond, who was pushed out of Barclays in 2012, founded Atlas Mara in 2013 to focus on acquisitions in Africa's fast-growing economies.

He said the deal was "very significant" for the company.

With it, we will have a significant stake in a key Nigerian bank and we will also have established strategic market positions in three of Africa's leading economic communities: the Southern Africa Development Community, the East African Community and Economic Community of West African States.

Despite recent political troubles, Nigeria is Africa's third-fastest growing economy, and one of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world.

In April, the Nigerian statistics authority revised up its estimate for GDP in 2013 to 80.3 trillion naira (£307.6bn), 89 per cent larger than previously thought, making it the 26th-largest economy in the world.

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