By Nkiruka Nnorom
The share price of FBN Holdings Plc (First Bank Group) rose by 2.45 per cent yesterday to close at N12.55 per share amid controversy over who holds controlling interest in the bank.
This comes as sources at the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, confirmed to Vanguard that SEC will undertake a review of the share acquisition process by Otedola to ascertain that he followed due process, adding that the review is usually undertaken whenever transactions of this nature takes place.
“When something like this happens, we have to check that they followed the procedure; we have to check that the rule is complied with and be sure that there is no infraction. That’s the normal process we follow when transactions like this happen, especially when people are making so much noise about it. We also have to go back and check our books to be sure that people did what they are supposed to do,” the source said.
Femi Otedola, a business mogul and former chairman of Forte Oil Plc, was, weekend, confirmed to have acquired substantial shareholding in the bank by both the financial institution and the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) following initial talks of him emerging the largest single shareholder in the bank.
The NGX had confirmed that Otedola acquired 5.07 per cent stake after purchasing 1.82 billion units out of 35.9 billion units of the bank’s shares through his nominee, Calvados Global Services Limited.
A market dealer familiar with the Otedola share deal said: “When the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) removed Oba Otudeko due to the Board crisis, it left the bank open for any other person to move in.
“For over one year, First Bank shares were not more than N7.50 per share. Even when we started buying the shares for Otedola more than four months ago, it was still not more than N7.50 because we were doing it quietly. It was when he decided to buy over 500 million units in one single deal through FBN Quest that the share price suddenly spiked to up to N12 per share.“
Meanwhile, analysis of the day’s trading session shows that 350.54 million units of FBNH Plc shares were sold in 763 deals, indicating increased interest by shareholders in the bank.
Recall that Mr. Oba Otudeko, former chairman of FBNH till last April, was until the acquisition of 5.07 percent stake by Otedola, the largest individual shareholder of the bank, maintaining five per cent equity stake.