Otedola, Adenuga, Hassan-Odukales, Otudeko in Battle to Control First Bank

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FirstBank Celebrates Youth Week 2021
FirstBank Celebrates Youth Week 2021

By his acquisition of 1,818,551,625 units of shares of First Bank Holdings Plc (FBNH), amounting to a 5.07 per cent of its total issued capital, the founder and Chairman of the Geregu Energy Group, Mr. Femi Otedola, has joined the trio of the Chairman of Globacom, Chief Mike Adenuga; the current Chairman of FBNH, Mr. Tunde Hassan-Odukale, and Oba Otudeko in the race for the control of the holding company, THISDAY has learnt.
FBNH has a total issued share capital of 35,895,292,791.

According to market analysis, Otedola, Adenuga, the Hassan-Odukales and Otudeko’s shareholding are above five per cent and this has placed them in a position to control the organisation.
A capital market source disclosed that contrary to the insinuations that Otudeko has offloaded his shares, he is still a force to reckon with because he is still retaining his shares in First Bank.

The source further disclosed that Otudeko’s loan is performing, adding that he is ready to take some risk.
As at March this year, Otudeko was said to be holding a total indirect stake in excess of 532 million in First Bank, coupled with a direct stake of about six million units, bringing his total stakes to about 538 million units of the issued ordinary shares of the bank.
Adenuga on the other hand is said to have been buying more shares and his shareholding is said to be between five and seven per cent.

On the other hand, Hassan-Odukale, and related parties had acquired a total of 1,923,512,099 units of shares, representing 5.36 per cent of the company’s issued share capital.

These companies include: Leadway Assurance Company Ltd, ZPC/Leadway Assurance Prem & Investment Coll Acct, Haskai Holdings Ltd, Leadway Capital & Trust Ltd and LAC Investments Ltd.
Others are Leadway Properties &Investment Ltd, Leadway Holdings, OHO Investment/Oye Hassan-Odukale and Leadway Pensure PFA.

Capital market observers said Otedola’s acquisition of shares may open a floodgate of mop up exercise by the competing shareholders as they move to outdo one another in a bid to control the soul of the holding company.
A statement signed by the Company Secretary of the holding company, Mr. Seye Kosoko, explained that FBNH believed the time had come to make the disclosure and has received notifications from its registrars on the substantial acquisition of its shares by Otedola.

In the letter dated October 23, 2021, and titled, ‘Notification of Acquisition of Substantial Shareholdings in FBN Holdings Plc,’ the Company Secretary stated: “We refer to our communication to the market dated October 22, 2021, on the above subject wherein we stated that we would inform the public of any substantial acquisition, upon receipt of notification from the Shareholder.

“This morning, October 23, 2021, FBN Holdings Plc received a notification from APT Securities and Funds Limited, that their Client, Mr. Otedola Olufemi Peter, and his nominee, Calvados Global Services Limited have acquired a total of 1,818,551,625 units of shares from the company’s issued share capital of 35,895,292,791. Based on the foregoing, the equity stake of Mr. Otedola Olufemi Peter and his nominee in the company is now 5.07 per cent.

Commenting on the development, Managing Director, Financial Derivatives Limited, Mr. Bismarck Rewane, said Otedola’s acquisition will still be vetted by the regulators, explaining that the CBN will ensure that such shareholders are fit and proper as an investor.

“The shareholder will still go through the CBN vetting to determine he is proper and fit. They will have to make sure such new shareholders do not have any conflict of interest in the organisation, including insider-related loans in the bank,” he said.

He added that another hurdle would be decided at the company’s annual general meeting where he will have to rely on the recommendations of the shareholders before he can emerge as a director.

However, the source said Otedola may eventually emerge as the largest shareholder as shares held in the accounts of other indirect and nominee accounts are reportedly being consolidated and will be forwarded to the regulators in due course.

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In a letter of acknowledgement to the Chairman of First Bank Holdings yesterday, Otedola explained that efforts were ongoing to consolidate shares held in the accounts of other indirect and nominee accounts, which would be made public soon.

He also placed it on record, his investment of $30million in the bank’s long-term debt instrument.
His letter titled, ‘Interest in First Bank Holdings Plc,’ read: “Pursuant to the notice of substantial shareholding tendered by my Stockbrokers, APT securities Limited and dated 22/10/2021, it is pertinent to state that we are in the process of consolidating shares held in the accounts of other indirect and nominee accounts and this will be forwarded in due course.

“In addition to the above , I also invested the sum of US$30million in the bank’s long term debt instrument (classified as Tier II capital) and which constitutes a significant portion of the bank’s capital base.”

Speaking on why he made such a huge investment at this period, Otedola said, “I believe in the Nigerian economy, it is resilient and has a bright future.

“The current security challenges will be overcome. Anyone who fails to see the future now will lose out.”
In an earlier notice to the Corporate Affairs Commission, (CAC) on Friday, FBNH declared that it received a notification on Friday from Leadway Assurance Company Limited that Chairman, First Bank Limited, Mr. Tunde Hassan-Odukale, and related parties had acquired a total of 1,923,512,099 units of shares, representing a 5.36 per cent of the company’s issued share capital.

A THISDAY analysis of the company’s share movement on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NGX) showed that FBNH closed its last trading day (Friday, October 22, 2021) at N12.25 per share, recording a 1.2 per cent gain over its previous closing price of N12.10, was traded at N9.70 on October 10.

FBN began the year with a share price of N 7.15 and has since gained 71.3 per cent on that price valuation, ranking it 16th on the NGX in terms of year-to-date performance.
The stock of the holding company has accrued an outstanding 63 per cent over the past four-week period alone—second-best on NGX.

Between July 26 and October 22, 2021, FBNH has traded a total volume of 3.81 billion shares—in 14,746 deals—valued at NGN 38.1 billion over the period, with an average of 60.5 million traded shares per session.
A volume high of 603 million was achieved on October 14th, and a low of 1.74 million on September 1st, for the same period.

Analysts said the sharp movement in the share price of the company became noticeable from October 14 when it jumped from N10.95 the previous trading day to close at N11.75.
The following day, the share price continued its upward swing when it closed at N12.70 and it has continued to stay above the N12 threshold since then.

The CBN’s Director of Corporate Communications, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, did not respond to calls, SMS, and WhatsApp messages sent to him yesterday, while the spokesperson for SEC, Mrs. Efe Ebelo declined to comment because she had not been authorised to comment on the issue.
FBN Holdings Plc is the non-operating holding company of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, a commercial bank with operations in 10 countries.

As a diversified and one of the largest banking and financial services organisations in Africa, FBN offers a broad range of products and services including commercial banking, merchant banking, asset management, and insurance.
The merchant banking and asset management business of the group comprises FBNQuest Merchant Bank Limited, FBNQuest Capital Limited, FBNQuest Trustees Limited, FBNQuest Capital Asset Management Limited, FBNQuest Funds Limited, and FBNQuest Securities Limited.