Sunday, February 25, 2024

Wigwe increases controlling shareholding in Access Corp with N14.5bn investments in three months

BY BAMIDELE FAMOOFO

Herbert Wigwe, the Group Managing Director and co-founder of Access Holdings, Nigeria’s largest bank holding company, has spent an estimated N14.5 billion on additional shares of the bank since April 2023.

Wigwe has been acquiring more shares of the bank since April when he purchased about 1.13 billion units. His stake is spread across several entities that hold direct shares in Access Holdings.

Just last week, his Tengen Holdings (Mauritius) Limited, a company related to Wigwe, again acquired additional 50 million shares worth N762.5 million in the company.

The notice signed by Sunday Ekwochi, Company Secretary indicated that Tengen Holdings on June 26, 2023, purchased 50,000,000 units of Access Holdings Plc at N15.25 per share valued at N762.5 million.

This was contained in a notice of share dealing by an insider to the Nigerian Exchange Limited released on its website.

The acquisition of 50 million shares represents 0.14 percent of the company’s total outstanding shares. This takes the total shareholdings for his Tengen Holdings to 1.8 billion and Wigwe’s combined direct and indirect stake to 3.1 billion shares.

Tengen has been increasing its shareholdings since December doubling from about 432,577,819 units of shares as of December 31, 2022, to 1,819,750,593 units by estimates between April and June 2023.

The total amount of shares bought since April 2023 is valued at about N14.2 5 billion

Wigwe also has an indirect interest in United Alliance Company of Nig Ltd and Trust and Capital Limited with shares of 537,734,219 and 584,056,979 respectively.

Consequently, Wigwe’s indirect holdings now stand at 2,941,541,791 units of shares from 1,554,369,017 as of December 31, 2022.

His direct holdings remained at 201,231,713 units of shares.

Wigwe and his entities is now the bank’s single largest shareholder with about 8.8 percent of its total shareholding structure going by estimates.

Stanbic Nominees held stakes of 11 percent as of December 2022, the only entity with over 5% stake according to information in its audited accounts.

Combined Wigwe and his entities own about 3.1 billion shares.

Sources close to the deal revealed that Wigwe shares joint ownership with former Managing Director/CEO and co-founder of Access Bank, Aig Imoukhuede.

With the latest acquisition, he appears to be consolidating his position as the biggest shareholder of the bank, solidifying effective control.

Current market trend has shown an increase in the majority stake of most billionaire shareholders of banks, especially since the Femi Otedola foray into FBN Holdings and Transcorp Plc.

According to its unaudited Q1 results, the group released recently at NGX Exchange, Access Holdings grew interest income by 46.4 percent to N254.22 billion in Q1, 2023 from N173.688 billion in the corresponding period of 2022.

Profits before tax also increased by 28.4% to N81, 594 billion from N65.559 billion in the review period. 

Its gross earning maintained its upswing as it increased to N424.917 billion in the review period, higher than the N295.736 billion recorded in the first quarter of March 2022. 

Its profit after tax improved in the first quarter of 2023, to N71.636 billion, compared to the N57.825 billion it realized in the first quarter of 2022. 

Also, Access Holdings total assets increased to N15.742 trillion as of the end of March 2023, up from N14.998 trillion recorded at the end of December 2022. 

Access Holdings closed its last trading day (Tuesday, June 27, 2023) at N15.80 per share on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, recording a 3.6 percent gain over its previous closing price of N15.25.

Access began the year with a share price of N8.50 and has since gained 85.9 percent on the price valuation.

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