By Chinwendu Obienyi
Despite the controversy as to who controls the major shares of First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) Holdings Plc, it recorded huge trade volumes with its share price rising by 2.45 per cent at the close of trading on Monday.
According to data obtained from the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX), about 285,328,138 units were traded by investors, driving up the shares to as high as N12.90 per share.
Market analysts who spoke to Daily Sun via an emailed note, said the positive sentiment in FBNH was down to rumors rife that one of the major shareholders might be behind the trade, thus making investors scramble to shore up their ownership of the bank.
Daily Sun had earlier reported that a clash may be brewing between Messrs Femi Otedola and Hassan Odukale over the controlling shares of First Bank of Nigeria Holdings (FBNH) Plc after confusing reports revealed that either one of them had become significant shareholding interest in FBN Holdings, resulting in limbo as to who the majority shareholder in the company was.
The bank had on Friday disclosed to the investing community via a statement from the NGX’s website that it was yet to receive any notification from any individual on the reported new share ownership acquisitions in the bank.
However, 24 hours later after its statement, the company backtracked and finally confirmed that a businessman, Femi Otedola, has acquired a 5.07 per cent stake in the company while social media was awashed with the news (as at October 18, 2021) that Odukale, the current Chairman of First Bank Nigeria Ltd, owns about 5.36 per cent of FBNH.
Daily Sun investigations reveal that already the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have launched an intensive regulatory assessment to review acquisition of a major stake in the company with the review expected to include recent transactions by directors of the of the company.
The analysts who were unanimous that the acquisitions by Otedola would not lead to any material changes in the board and management of the banking group, noted that the emergence of Odukale and Otedola’s material shareholdings has however altered the shareholding structure of the holding company, which had for several years ran without any known individual with more than 5 per cent equity stake.