BY PETER EGWUATU
LAGOS—The Board of Directors of Oceanic Bank International Plc, Monday, formally handed over the acquired entity to the new owner, Ecobank Transnational Incorporation (ETI), even as it retains its name.
Also, a new Board of Directors has been reconstituted with Mr. Arnold Ekpe, CEO of Ecobank Group, appointed Chairman, while Mr. John Aboh, Managing Director of Oceanic Bank, will continue in that role.
It is envisaged that the banking operations of Oceanic Bank will be merged with Ecobank Nigeria operations before the end of the year.
At the presentation of certificates of acquisition to ETI, and the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), by the management of Oceanic Bank, its Group Managing Director, John Aboh, the Chief Executive Officer, ETI, Arnold Ekpe described the transactions as a very pleasant one.
He said Oceanic Bank would be run as a separate entity for the next 12 months when Oceanic would be fully integrated and fused into Ecobank’s operations.
Ekpe said: “Oceanic Bank is a good brand and so its name would be retained. But, in the medium to long term, we would have to combine to become one entity. I am excited at the future of the leading independent pan-African banking group, with a combined total of over 7.4 million customers and a presence in 32 African countries.”
He said the management of Oceanic Bank would be changed, adding, “As far as employees of Oceanic Bank are concerned, we have made it very clear that we are looking for the best employees for the two institutions.
On the occasion, Aboh said: “The employees need not to express fears, but to work harder as every good employee would be retained. But those staff that wish not to continue or eventually not needed will be adequately compensated.”
He said: “The transaction is an acquisition and not a hostile take over, so it is to the best interest of both employees and shareholders. I must commend Oceanic Bank shareholders for the understanding shown to during the court ordered meeting. I am confident that the acquisition will create significant shareholder value.
It will be recalled that Oceanic shareholders at a court ordered meeting recently approved the acquisition of the bank by ETI.
Following the approval, the entire paid-up share capital of the bank was reduced from N11,110,684,606.50 comprising 22,221,369,213 ordinary shares of 50kobo each, to zero, the cancellation of every fully paid, issued, and outstanding ordinary share of 50 kobo each, in the paid-up capital of the bank.
During the court ordered meeting, Aboh had stated that the rights of existing shareholders to the scheme shares, shall be transferred to Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, in consideration of which the existing shareholders together with the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) shall be issued , allotted and credited as fully paid investor ordinary shares with a total value equivalent to N38.5 billion and investor preference shares, with a total value equivalent to N16.5billion in the share capital of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, which shall be the consideration for both the schemes shares and financial accommodation shares and shall be divided in the agreed portion between the existing shareholders and AMCON.
He said:” Through the scheme, holders of Oceanic Bank shares so cancelled, shall receive one ordinary share of $0.025 and $0.428 preference shares of $0.1032, in Ecobank Transnational, credited as fully paid for every 20 ordinary shares of 50 kobo previously held by them in Oceanic Bank, prior to the effective date”.