By Peter Egwuatu
Stakeholders in the Nigerian capital market have expressed worry over Union Bank of Nigeria, UBN Plc, becoming a private entity as Titan Trust Bank Limited, a two-year old private bank, acquires 89.39 percent equity previously held by core investors in the 105 years old first generation bank.
Reacting to this development, the Managing Director/CEO, APT Securities & Funds Limited, Mallam Garba Kurfi, said: “It is a good development that Titan Trust Bank is acquiring the Union Bank as that has ended the rumour about Access Bank or Zenith Bank acquiring the bank.
“Our hope as stakeholders is that Titan Trust Bank will not eventually convert Union Bank to a Limited Liability Company by opting to buy out the minority shareholders.”
Also commenting the Chairman, New Dimension Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Patrick Ajudua, said: “The acquisition of Union Bank majority stake by Titan Trust Bank did not come to us investors by surprise.
“It’s expected that the promoters of Titan Bank led by Mr Tunde Lemo, an Ex-Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, will bring to bear his wealth of experience to address the various governance issues, legacy issues and more importantly, the dwindling fortune of UBN.
“We are also worrying if Titan Trust Bank will not buy out the minority shareholders and then convert Union Bank being a public entity to a private entity by delisting the shares from the stock exchange.”
Commenting as well, Chairman, Issuers and Investors Alternative Dispute Resolution (IIADRI), Mr Moses Igbrude, said: “Acquisition or buying of shares of companies is the major objective of having a capital market.
“There must be a willing seller and a willing buyer with the resources to do the transaction involved.
“So Titan Trust Bank acquiring Union Bank is not surprising to me because the core investor there has since indicated their interest to divest from the bank.
“My concern is that the bank should be well run and managed for the benefit of all stakeholders.”
Meanwhile, the Board of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc has notified the Nigerian Exchange Limited, NGX, and Securities Exchange Commission, SEC that its investors Union Global Partners Limited, Atlas Mara Limited and other shareholders have reached an agreement with Titan Trust Bank Limited, TTB to divest their shareholding in Union Bank to TTB.
The agreement, which is subject to regulatory approvals and other financial conditions, will upon completion transfer 89.39% of Union Bank’s issued share capital to TTB.
Commenting on the transaction: Chair, Union Bank, Mrs. Beatrice Hamza Bassey said: “We are grateful to our current investors whose significant and consequential investments over the past nine years facilitated the transformation of Union Bank, one of Nigeria’s oldest and storied institutions.
“Today, the Bank is well-positioned with an innovative product offering, a growing customer base of over six million and consistent year on year profitability.
“This is a solid foundation for our incoming investors to build on as we move into a new era for the Bank.”
Chairman, Titan Trust Bank, Mr. Tunde Lemo, said: “The Board of Titan Trust Bank and our key stakeholders are delighted as this transaction marks a key step for Titan Trust in its strategic growth journey and propels the institution to the next level in the Nigerian banking sector.
“The deal represents a unique opportunity to combine Union Bank’s longstanding and leading banking franchise with TTB’s innovation-led model which promises to enhance the product and service offering for our combined valued customers.”