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Ex-Barclays Boss Targets 44.5% Stake in Union Bank

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Union Bank of Nigeria
  • Ex-Barclays Boss Targets 44.5% Stake in Union Bank

A former Managing Director of Barclays Bank PLc, Mr. Bob Diamond, has agreed to sell more than a third of Atlas Mara, the vehicle he created to invest in banks in Africa including Nigeria.

He will sell the stake to the Canadian life insurer Fairfax Financial at an 80 per cent discount to its 2013 listing price.

The deal, which will partly fund Atlas Mara’s investment in the Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, may leave existing investors in the London-listed vehicle facing painful dilution, including Janus Capital, Wellington Management, Guggenheim and Diamond himself.

Specifically, Atlas Mara will use some of the money to increase its holding in Union Bank.

It intends to pay $55m for an indirect 13.4 per cent shareholding in UBN, taking its combined direct and indirect holdings in the bank to 44.5 per cent, according to a Financial Times report.

A Union Bank spokesperson, Ogochukwu Ekezie, said the lender was going through regulatory approvals and would then start the share sale.

Atlas said on Tuesday that it would raise $100m through an offering of new shares, which would be sold at $2.25—a 10 per cent discount to Tuesday’s closing price—and a further $100m through the issuance of a mandatory convertible bond to Fairfax.

Fairfax, which is run by Canadian investor Prem Watsa, will also have the right to secure a minimum of 30 per cent of the share offering, and will subscribe for any shares not taken up by existing shareholders.

The Canadian group is expected to have a total shareholding of at least 35 per cent of Atlas Mara after the deals are completed, and will nominate four directors to its nine-strong board.

The deal will make Fairfax Africa, a new Africa-focused fund set up by the Canadian insurer, the biggest shareholder in Atlas Mara.

“A strategic partnership with Fairfax Africa creates a strong relationship between two like-minded, long-term investors in Africa,” Atlas Mara said. “Each is focused on capitalising on the long-term growth potential of Africa and provides permanent capital to support growth.”

The new share offering came shortly after Atlas Mara was forced to raise extra funds in an overnight placing in February.

The vehicle has had a difficult year, which also saw the departure of its chief executive, a drop in profits and the announcement of a big reorganisation and cost-cutting programme.

However, Diamond, who chairs the group, is aiming to double Atlas Mara’s earnings in the coming year.

“Our board is thrilled to announce this important series of transactions,” Diamond said.

“We have a terrific new partner in Fairfax Africa — a strategic investor and partner who brings permanent capital and a shared vision of the banking opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa,” he added.

Aiming to create the first pan-African banking group based on new technologies, Atlas Mara has acquired interests in seven sub-Saharan countries, including Nigeria, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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French Trade Advisors pledge Massive Investment In Lagos Free Zone

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The Conseillers du Commerce Exterieur (French Foreign Trade Advisors) has expressed readiness to invest massively in the Lagos Free Zone (LFZ) being developed by the Tolaram Group as they endorsed the zone as the ideal industrial destination for French businesses in Nigeria.

This was made known on Thursday, April 15, 2021, during a visit to the Lagos Free Zone. The delegation led by the Ambassador of France to Nigeria, His Excellency Jerome Pasquier accompanied by his Economic Advisor, the Consulate General of France in Lagos and the Conseillers du Commerce Exterieur comprising of CEOs of several French businesses in Nigeria.

Speaking during the visit, the Ambassador of France in Nigeria, His Excellency Jerome Pasquier explained that the aim of the visit of the Conseillers du Commerce Exterieur to Lagos Free Zone (LFZ) was to discover the opportunities in the Lagos Free Zone and the Lekki Port project, which is expected to have a huge positive impact on businesses in Nigeria.

Pasquier commended Tolaram Group, the promoter of the zone, for the foresight of integration of Lekki Port into the master plan of the Lagos Free Zone (LFZ), which would serve as the gateway for import and export from the zone thereby giving businesses in the zone a competitive edge.

The Ambassador also commended the Lagos Free Zone (LFZ) for its Master Plan for the zone which includes world-class infrastructure that is in line with its vision to be the preferred industrial hub and investment destination in West Africa.

“I am impressed by the huge size of the Lagos Free Zone project. We are very happy that the French companies will be deeply involved in this Lagos Free Zone project. It is really impressive to see how ambitious this project is. The French Minister was in Nigeria yesterday and I explained to him that Nigeria is a country where we can have big projects. For us, this project means big opportunities and that explains why we need to be here. We are happy to be here and work with Tolaram Group”, he added.

It is noteworthy to mention that the first French company to be established in the Lagos Free Zone is the terminal operations arm of CMA – CGM which has established a subsidiary within the Lagos Free Zone and is the appointed operator for the container terminal operations scheduled to commence at Lekki Port next year.

In his remarks, the Chief Executive Officer, Lagos Free Zone (LFZ), Mr. Dinesh Rathi assured the Ambassador of France and the Conseillers du Commerce Exterieur that the zone remains the best destination for investment in Nigeria and the West African sub-region given the seamless integration with Lekki Port and the world-class infrastructure provided by Lagos Free Zone.

Explaining the configuration of the zone, Rathi disclosed that the clustering is planned in line with the international best practices of Work, Live, and Play. He stated that the land-use plan of the Lagos Free Zone allocates 70 percent area towards industrial developments, 20 percent towards logistics and support services while the real estate will cover the remaining 10 percent.

He also stated that Lagos Free Zone (LFZ) has simplified the process of business entry and operation in the zone in line with the Federal Government of Nigeria’s Ease of Doing Business policy.

“We have made it very easy for the business to berth and take off at zone by making our process less cumbersome and friendly, we are open for business 24/7 and willing to help investors to settle in very fast,” he said.

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AIICO Refutes Claims of Non-Remittance of Pension Assets to PTAD

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AIICO Insurance Plc has refuted claims of non-remittance of pension assets to the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD).

This was disclosed recently in a statement by Segun Olalandu, the Head, Strategic Marketing and Communications Department.

It stated: “The attention of the Management of AIICO Insurance Plc. has been drawn to a recent report in the media on allegations of non-remittance of pension assets to the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD).

“AIICO Insurance Plc. hereby wishes to inform the public that all pension assets due for remittance have been duly transferred to PTAD since the year 2017, in full compliance with the directive. Both parties are presently engaged in a reconciliation exercise to conclude the process. We implore the public to disregard any information that may suggest otherwise as there is no basis to that effect.”

Mr. Segun assured that AIICO Insurance Plc. remains a responsible corporate citizen of Nigeria and will continue to engage the best practice in all its business activities and operations in line with extant laws and regulatory provisions guiding its practice.

AIICO Insurance is a leading composite insurer in Nigeria with a record of serving our customers that dates back over 50 years. Founded in 1963, AIICO provides life and health insurance, general insurance, and investment management services as a means to create and protect wealth for individuals, families, and corporate customers.

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2021 Maltina Teacher Of The Year Contest Begins

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The Nigerian Brewery Plc, on Tuesday in Lagos, announced the commencement of entries for the 2021 edition of the Maltina Teacher of the Year competition.

Entries for the 7th edition of the competition begin today, Tuesday 20th April to Friday, June 25th, 2021.

Mrs. Shade Morgan, Corporate Affairs Director, Nigerian Breweries Plc, organiser and sponsor of the competition, announced the kick-off at a press conference in Lagos.

Morgan declared that the seven-year-old initiative had continued to impact, motivate teachers, promote the teaching profession and quality learning across the country.

The competition that had been on the Felix Ohiwerei Education Trust Fund, is to identify, showcase and celebrate exemplary teachers in both the public and private secondary schools nationwide.

The 2021 winner of the competition would go home with a trophy and a N6.5million cash prize.

Besides, the winner would also benefit from an all-expense paid capacity development training abroad, while the school represented would equally get a block of six classrooms or computer laboratory depending on the needs of the school.

A breakdown of the winning prize shows that aside from the N500,000 as state champion, the winner also wins N1 million as a national champion and would also be paid N1 million yearly for the next five years provided he or she remains in the teaching profession.

Morgan explained that all participants must be certified by the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN).

According to her, the first and second runner-ups would receive N1 million and N750,000 respectively, in addition to another N500,000 as champions from their respective states, saying that other state champions would go home with N500,000 each.

Since its inception, the Maltina Teacher of the Year initiative has produced six grand winners; Rose Nkemdilim Obi, Anambra (2015), Imoh Essien, Akwa Ibom (2016), Felix Ariguzo, Delta State (2017), Olasunkanmi Opeifa, FCT (2018), Ezem Collins (2019) and Anani Olubunmi Adamawa (2020).

At the hybrid event, Registrar of the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), Professor Josiah Ajiboye, in his remarks online, lauded NBL through the Felix Ohiwerei Education Trust Fund for sustaining the competition that had promoted excellence and put the names of teachers in Nigeria in the global arena.

Ajiboye described the Maltina Teacher of the Year Competition as a permanent feature in the nation’s education calendar and pledged continued support of TRCN in uplifting the rating of teachers in the country.

In the same vein, the National President of the Nigeria Union of Teachers(NUT), Dr. Idris Nasir, represented by Mr. Segun Raheem, the National Treasurer urged other corporate organisations to take a queue from the NBL initiative that had become a platform for demonstration of excellence by teachers in Nigeria.

Besides, the reigning champion, Anani Oluwabunmi of Concordia College, Jimeta, Yola, Adamawa State, who was part of the briefing online, said the award had added to her confidence and enhanced her rating as a teacher.

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