With $1.1bn net worth, Otedola takes over from Abdullahi as First Bank chairman

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  • Negative sentiment resurfaces, market loses N1.07trn

The First Bank of Nigeria Holdings has appointed Nigerian billionaire and businessman, Femi Otedola, as the new chairman of its board of directors.

This was contained in a notification sent by FBN Holding to the Nigerian Exchange Limited on Wednesday.

The notice titled, Notification of Changes on the Board of FBN Holdings Plc was signed by the Company Secretary, Adewale Arogundade.

“FBN Holdings Plc hereby notifies the Nigerian Exchange Limited and the investing public that at the meeting of the Board of Directors of the company held today, January 31, 2024, the Board appointed Mr. Olufemi Peter Otedola, CON, as the new Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Otedola, who recently expressed his excitement about his return to the Forbes African Billionaires list after a seven-year hiatus, takes over from the outgoing chairman of the board, Ahmad Abdullahi.

Sharing a picture of the announcement on his Instagram page, Otedola wrote, “Interesting”, and added a smiley and dollar emojis.”

The 61-year-old entrepreneur currently sits at number 20 on the list with a net worth of $1.1bn.

According to Forbes, the wealth of the 2024 list of 20 billionaires rose to $82.4bn from last year’s $81.5bn, partly as a result of Otedola’s return.

Before then, the last time the business mogul appeared on the Forbes Africa list was in 2017. This year, he took the 20th spot on the list.

Recall that in July 2023, Wole Olanipekun & Co, the legal representatives of Oba Otudeko, former chairman of the group asked FBN Holdings to disregard a petition by Ecobank’s lawyers, demanding a rejection of 4.7 billion shares purchased by the entrepreneur.

The law firm, in a letter, dismissed claims by Ecobank that there was a Supreme Court judgment backing its stance that Otudeko owed N13.5bn.

According to the letter, no order of the court had “awarded same or any judgment sum (as debt owed) at all in favour of Ecobank as a liability from our clients or any of the Honeywell companies.”

The legal entity, on behalf of Oba Otudeko, urged FBN Holdings to ignore and decline all the requests contained in Ecobank’s letter.

The Securities and Exchange Commission had disclosed investigating the tussle at First Bank of Nigeria Holdings Plc.

In October 2023, Otedola was listed as the largest shareholder of First Bank of Nigeria Holdings Plc, despite the acquisition of 4.7 billion units of FBNH shares by the former chairman of the group, Oba Otudeko, in July 2023.

FBN Holdings stated that “the company received a notification from Honeywell Group Limited that its affiliate, Barbican Capital Limited, has acquired an aggregate of 4,770,269,843 units of shares from the company’s issued share capital of 35,895,292,791, (35.89 billion) as at the above-referenced date.

“Based on the foregoing, the equity stake of Barbican Capital Limited in the company is 13.3 per cent.”

Negative sentiment resurfaces, market loses N1.07trn

The bears gained dominance yet another day on the Nigerian Exchange Limited with a total value of listed stocks losing N1.07 trillion.

By the end of trading on Wednesday, the market benchmark, the NGX All-Share-Index went down by 1.90 percent to close at 101,154.45 basis points.

Consequently, the market capitalization of listed equities declined by 1.89 percent to settle at N55.36 trillion, as the year-to-date return of the index slipped to 35.28 percent. The Exchange recorded more declining stocks (57) than advancing stocks (11) due to wide market sell-off.

The five major decliners for the day include MAYBAKER (10.00 percent), ROYALEX (10.00 percent), STERLINGNG (10.00 percent), TRANSCORP (10.00 percent) and UPDC (10.00 percent) with negative share price movements. On the other hand, TRIPPLEG, PZ, GEREGU, MCNICHOLS and VERITASKAP recorded share prices gains of 9.97 percent, 9.97 percent, 9.69 percent, 9.66 percent and 9.09 percent, respectively.

Performance across the sectors was predominantly in the bearish region as five out of the five sub-indices tracked closed negative. The Banking, Insurance, Consumer Goods, Oil/Gas and Industrial Goods sectors suffered losses of 8.07 percent, 3.02 percent, 1.82 percent, 1.81 percent and 0.39 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, trading activity on the NGX witnessed a positive upturn as the total traded volume and value surged by 15.44 percent and 102.88 percent to 749.13 million units and N22.49 billion, respectively. However, the total deals for the day declined by 2.00 percent, totaling 14,288 trades.

TRANSCORP emerged as the most traded security in terms of volume with 79.68 million units worth N1.06 billion across 981 trades, while GEREGU led in traded value at N6.98 billion.

Senate panel summons Cardoso over Naira crash

The senate committee on banking, insurance and other financial institutions has summoned Olayemi Cardoso, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, over the “free fall of the naira”.

Naira dropped to an all-time low on Wednesday at the rate of $1 to N1, 520 at the parallel market.

Speaking with journalists after a meeting of the committee on Wednesday, Adetokunbo Abiru, chairman of the panel, said they have concluded that the CBN governor should come and brief them on the state of the economy.

Abiru said the rate of inflation in the country has become worrisome, adding that Cardoso is expected to appear before the committee next week on Tuesday at 3 p.m.

“We have held a meeting this afternoon essentially to focus on the direction of the Nigerian economy.

“We are all living witnesses of what is going on. Underlining the major issue of the economy is the way the inflation index has been and of course, it is a major concern to us.

“We have deliberated among ourselves, and the critical issues were addressed. We believe that the next line of action is to summon the governor of the Central Bank on Tuesday at 3:00 pm to brief us properly on the state of the economy.

“That we have resolved and will communicate to the governor of the central bank after which we will have further communication to members of the press,” the Senator said.