Sunday, April 14, 2024

FBN Holdings denies court order, says AGM unstoppable

  • New Sterling Bank CEO acquires N354m shares

FBN Holdings has said that it has not been served any court order stopping it from holding its 11th Annual General Meeting on Tuesday.

This was revealed in a notice it filed with the Nigerian Exchange Limited on Thursday.

In the notice signed by the acting Company Secretary, Adewale Arogundade, FBN Holding said, “The attention of FBN Holdings Plc (the Company) has been drawn to recent media reports purporting that the Company has received a Court Order stopping it from holding the Annual General Meeting (AGM) scheduled for August 15, 2023.

“We confirm that this assertion is a false narrative as the Company has, as at the date hereof, not been served with any court order to stop the forthcoming AGM.

“Suffice to mention that the AGM is a statutory meeting of shareholders that must be held in accordance with the law, further to which the Company will notify the regulators and the public as appropriate if there is any lawful order to restrain the Company from conducting the same. We hereby assure our esteemed shareholders that the AGM shall hold on August 15, 2023, as planned and we look forward to their attendance and active participation at the meeting.”

Court orders published in national dailies showed that the Federal High Court in Lagos had issued an order against the financial institution, barring it from holding its 11th AGM.

A petition by Olusegun Onagoruwa, upon which the order was obtained in suit No: FHC/L/CP/1271/2022, addressed to the bank and some other bank officials, said, “Take notice that unless you obey the directives in the judicial order contained in the order made on July 15, 2022, by the Federal High Court, Lagos, by refraining from proceeding with the 11th Annual General Meeting of FBN Holdings Limited proposed for August 15, 2023, from seeking approval to issue or raise share capital in any manner whatsoever, from appointing or confirming the appointment of new directors, or in any other manner taking any step towards implementing, actualising enforcing resolution of the 10th Annual General Meeting of FBN Holdings Plc held on June 20, 2022, or in any other manner overreaching, disobeying or undermining the said order of a court, you will be guilty of contempt of court and you will be liable to be committed to prison and to their imprisoned.”

Some shareholders had protested at the headquarters of the bank on Monday, calling for the AGM to be held, as well as soliciting regulatory interventions.

At its AGM, the lender said that it plans to seek shareholders’ approval to raise N150bn fresh capital via a rights issue and elect new directors including billionaire Femi Otedola and Samson Ariyibi among other resolutions.

In another development, the newly-appointed Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Sterling Financial Holdings Company Plc, Yemi Odubiyi, has acquired 100m units of the shares of the lender.

According to the Nigerian Exchange Limited, Odubiyi purchased the shares in transactions that took place on the platform of the exchange between Monday and Wednesday.

The 100m shares were bought at N3.54 per unit, which brings the value of the deal to N354m.

Odubiyi was appointed the Managing Director of the HoldCo on June 27, 2023.

As of the end of the first half of 2023, Odubiyi held 4,341,618 units of shares directly. With his new acquisition, Odubiyi’s shareholding stands at 104,341,618 units.

This is coming days after a non-executive director in the Holdco and Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Bank, Abubakar Suleiman, also increased his stake in the business with the purchase of 50m units in a deal worth N168m.

Suleiman bought the shares at the rate of N3.36 per unit.

In its half-year report, Sterling FHC revealed that Suleiman held a direct 0.91 percent stake in the company amounting to 262,668,608.

With his latest acquisition, the bank’s managing director had increased his stake to 312,668,608 share units.

The shares of Sterling closed trading on the NGX at N3.44 per unit with 32,673,904 units traded on Wednesday.

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