Mr. Tunde Hassan Odukale has been confirmed as the single-largest shareholder by FBN Holdings Plc, the holding company of First Bank Nigeria Limited.
According to a filing made available to The Nigerian Exchange, Odukale and Otedola are the only two substantial shareholders with more than a 5% equity interest in FirstBank Holdings Plc (NGX).
In a letter to the Director-General of the Nigerian Exchange Limited, FBN Holdings informed the Bourse that Hassan-Odukale owns a total of 5.36 percent of the Group’s issued share capital, while Otedola owns a total of 5.07 percent.
While the letter may have been intended for NGX’s Chief Executive Officer, the Exchange’s leadership has since changed its title to Chief Executive Officer to reflect its private structure.
This suggests that there was more scheming going on behind the scenes than just FBN Holdings’ disclosures of the two major shareholders, Odukale and Otedola.
There is no clarity on the timing of Odukale’s and his related entities’ acquisition of the shares, especially since FBN Holdings’ financial statements for the period ending June 30, 2021 do not list Odukale as a substantial shareholder.
According to Sections 119 and 120 of CAMA (2020) and Rule 17.13 of the NGX Rulebook, there may have been an undue delay in the disclosure, which is in violation of relevant statutory and regulatory requirements of disclosing substantial shareholding in a public entity within seven days and ten days of acquiring such equity interest, respectively.
The letter was written in response to the NGX’s request for clarification on the rationale for Hassan Odukale’s ownership, especially since holdings by entities like Leadway Pensure were added to its “cumulative stake” in the Group, despite the fact that Leadway Pensure is a pension fund administrator holding assets, including shares in companies, on behalf of pension contributors, who are the ultimate beneficial owners of the assets.
In the letter, Kosoko, FBN Holdings defined “substantial shareholders” as “shareholders holding 5% or more of the company’s stock.”
The battle for control of Nigeria’s oldest bank erupted last weekend, with initial media reports claiming Otedola had acquired a controlling stake.
Despite the fact that Hassan Odukale and Femi Otedola have significant stakes in FBN Holdings, neither of them has a controlling interest in the company from an accounting or statutory standpoint.
While the bank initially denied knowing about Otedola’s significant stock purchases, it later confirmed the reports, revealing that he had amassed as much as a 5.07 percent stake in FBN Holdings Plc.
The fight may be just getting started, and it could be a precursor to a tumultuous Annual General Meeting for FBN Holdings.
Surprisingly, the regulator, the Central Bank of Nigeria, appears to have remained silent on the issue at this time, possibly awaiting further developments.
FBN Holdings’ shares are still one of the most liquid on the NGX, with 75.46 million units traded at a value of N898.01 million, accounting for 28.04 percent of the total N3.20 billion in NGX transactions for the day.