Less than 24 hours after the FBN Holdings Plc denied in a notification to the Nigerian Exchange of possible acquisition of First Bank shares by Energy tycoon, Mr Femi Otedola, the company has made a volte face confirming that the billionaire businessman had acquired a 5.07 per cent equity stake in the bank.
FBN Holdings Plc in a statement on Saturday confirmed Otedola as the group’s single majority shareholder after the acquisition of 5.07% of its entire shareholdings from the Nigerian Exchange.
The bank said this in a notification signed by its company secretary, Seye Kosoko submitted again to the Nigerian Exchange, as FBNH valuation rising strongly to N440 billion the share ramp-ups.
From a low point of N7.30 early in the year, FBNH share price peaked at N12.40, according to a mid-day report on Friday before it settled at N12.1 per share at the close of the week trading session.
“We refer to our communication to the market dated October 22, 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, Oct. 23, 2021, FBN Holdings Plc received a notification from APT Securities and Funds Ltd., that their client, Mr Otedola Olufemi Peter and his nominee, Calvados Global Services Ltd. 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,” said the statement.
However, it was gathered that Otedola started buying into the Nigeria’s foremost bank in July when the opportunity arose.
The Chairman of Geregu Energy was said to have quietly mopped up the shares of former FBNH Plc Chairman and a major shareholder of the bank, Oba Otudeko when he decided to sell all his stakes due to the issues he had with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
With that Otedola and his nominee successfully acquired a 5.07 per cent equity stake in the company, giving the billionaire strong influence on the strategy and operations of the financial service group.
Last April, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN dismissed Oba Otudeko, and the boards of FBN and its holding company, FBN Holdings, in a move that came a day after the bank appointed a new managing director.
The CBN, however, reinstated the former MD, Adesola Adeduntan. Similarly, Ibukun Awosika, until then the chairman of the board, was swept away by the gale.
Malam Garba Kurfi, the Managing Director, APT Securities and Funds Ltd. in a chat with Market Force Africa, said Otedola is now the largest single shareholder in the company.
He dispelled the rumours that Otedola had acquired FBN Holdings instead he’s only the largest single shareholder.
Meanwhile, the Hassan-Odukale family led by Oye and Tunde, and their Leadway Group’s cumulative stakes in FBNH is 5.36%.
Kurfi however noted that 95 per cent of FBNH shares were still in the hands of other shareholders, comprising Pension Fund Administrators and other individuals.
Kurfi also confirmed that Otedola bought over larger percentage of Oba Otudeko’s stake in First Bank, while noting that another notable businessman too bought from the Honeywell Group Chairman in a transaction that he said was legal.
“Otedola is not the only one that bought, someone else bought too. Once a company has left 20 per cent of their stake to the public they are within the regulations. The only requirement is that those that bought need to notify the Securities and Exchange Commission, once they do that there is no infraction,” he said.