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First Bank awaits communication from Otedola on alleged acquisition of 10% stake

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By Samuel Bankole

Nigeria’s FBN Holdings Plc, the parent company of First Bank Limited has said that it has yet to receive communication of any significant alteration in its shareholding structure from a business man, Femi Otedola.

In a regulatory filing with the Nigerian Exchange Limited on Friday and signed by its company secretary, Seye Kosoko, the firm said that it “is yet to receive any notification from the individual mentioned in the media report, of such acquisitions.”

The holding company was responding to speculation over the allegaed acquisition of more than five percent shareholding of the firm by a former majority owner of Forte Oil Plc, now Adova Oil Plc, Otedola.

Reports said Otedola had acquired chunk of the shares in First Bank through a multipuporse vehicle which bought about 10 percent stake in First Bank of Nigeria worth N30 billion, making him the bank’s single largest shareholder following the crisis that rocked the Board of Directors recently.

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However, Kosoko said in the regulatory communication that, “The attention of FBN Holdings Plc (the Company) has been drawn to media reports today, 22 October 2020 purporting that a certain individual has acquired significant shareholding interest in FBN Holdings Plc {the Company) therefore making him the majority shareholder in the Company,”

“As a listed Company, the shares of FBN Holdings Plc are publicly traded, and sale and acquisition of shares is expected in the normal course of business. We operate in a regulated environment, which requires notification of significant shareholding by Shareholders to the Company, where shares are held in different vehicles, further to which the Company will notify the regulators and the public as appropriate.

“The Company is yet to receive any notification from the individual mentioned in the media report, of such acquisitions.

“FBN Holdings Plc will always notify the appropriate agencies and authorities whenever it receives any notice of significant shareholding by the Shareholders and the Company’s Registrars,” the statement added.

However, sources said event will unfold in the coming weeks on the true position of the shareholding structure of the country’s oldest lender and its other subsidiaries.

In 2019, Otedola had sold his 75 per cent direct and indirect shareholding in Forte Oil through a merger of his business Zenon Oil with previous African Petrified Oil.

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