… “Acquisition of majority stake will unlock value for shareholders”
By Peter Egwuatu & Nkiruka Nnorom
Femi Otedola, a billionaire businessman, has acquired five per cent stake in First Bank of Nigeria, making him the bank’s single largest shareholder following the crisis that rocked the Board of Directors recently.
The Nigerian Exchange Limited, NGX, has confirmed today, Saturday that it received information concerning the transactions of the shares transacted by Otedola.
In a statement obtained from the Exchange and signed by Seye Kosoko, Company Secretary, FBNH Plc, stating : “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.
Meanwhile, shareholders of First Bank of Nigeria Limited have indicated that the acquisition of majority stake in the bank by the former chairman of Forte Oil Plc, Femi Otedola, if true, will unlock value for shareholders and turn the fortunes of the bank around for the better.
They posited that entrance of the billionaire business man into the bank would position the bank to retake its position as the first among equals in the Nigeria’s banking landscape.
Some of the shareholders who did not want their names disclosed said: “Otedola sold his 75 per cent direct and indirect shareholding in Forte Oil in 2019 through a merger of his business Zenon Oil with previous African Petrified Oil and they became all the more curious as to what his next move would be. He didn’t keep them guessing too long as he soon announced that he wanted to explore and maximize business opportunities in refining and petrochemicals.”
According to the shareholders: “Even though he also had investments in the real estate and financial sector, Otedola singled out First Bank for the single reason that there wasn’t exactly one man calling the shots there, unlike in other new generation banks.
“He wasted no time in taking advantage of the leadership crisis that rocked First Bank not too long ago that the Central Bank of Nigeria sacking both the chairman of the bank, Ibukun Awosika and Obafemi Otudeko, the chairman of FBN Holdings.
Otedola made his movements, and today he is a better person as a result of them.”
Speaking to Financial Vanguard on the development, Igbrude Moses, President,
Issuers and Investors Alternative Dispute Resolution Initiative (IIADRI), said: “If the speculation is true, it is a good move which I think will bring good tidings to the bank. Mr Femi Otedola has owned, and managed several businesses including transforming a weak and tired AP Plc to a brand new Forte Oil Plc.
“The experience of this transformation exercise makes me believe that his entrance into First Bank, if true, will add a lot of values and enhance shareholders and other stakeholders’ values.
“First Bank is strong and able anytime. It only needs to harmonize its strengths weaknesses, which require a strong and experienced character to lead and provide direction for the bank and these qualities Femi Otedola possesses. If First Bank, the sleeping giant, can be woken up, the banking industry will change.”