AFRILAND First Bank, a West African banking group, has acquired 80 per cent of shares in Intermarket Bank.

Announcing the development in Lusaka yesterday Sabre Capital (the owners of Intermarket Bank) managing director Subhrendu Chatterji, who was until yesterday the bank's acting managing director, said the move was arrived at to satisfy Bank of Zambia regulations.

Intermarket Securities, which is fully-owned by Intermarket Bank has also been included in the takeover.

Chatterji, who has been replaced (in acting capacity) by Intermarket Bank chief financial officer Ackim Sakala, said Sabre Capital would maintain 20 per cent of shares in the bank.

"We are delighted to welcome Afriland First Group as a significant partner in Intermarket. The investment enables Sabre Capital to meet its undertaking to the Bank of Zambia to reduce our share holding to less than 25 per cent and comply with the regulations," Chatterji said.

"After the successful restructuring and turnaround of the bank in 2009, the capital and know-how from Afriland will help accelerate Intermarket Bank's recovery. There is an excellent fit between Afriland"s strategy and the markets Intermarket has been targeting and this excellent news for our customers and other stakeholders."

And Afriland group vice president and the new board chairman for Intermarket Bank, Joseph Toubi, has said his group would keep the bank's name and brand for an interim period of three years after which it will be transformed to suit the group's global brand.

He also disclosed that all the employees of the bank would be maintained.