- Shareholders Worried About Future of Oando
As the Oando Plc insists on retaining Wale Tinubu as its Group Chief Executive (GCE), aggrieved shareholders are worried about the future of the oil company, in view of the unresolved corporate governance issues relating to the group’s financials.
The shareholders, who stormed the venue of the Group’s Annual General Meeting in Calabar, Cross River State, in a letter read out by the leader, Clement Ebitimi, had accused the Oando management of mismanagement, thereby plunging the company into crisis.
The letter included many demands, in which the shareholders also called on Tinubu “to step down and allow competent hands to manage the company,” to save billions in assets of the company. They equally called on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), “to commence an immediate investigation to determine the true state of the company’s financials and corporate governance practice,” especially as regards the remuneration of the CEO and other directors.
They carried placards with various inscriptions, some of which read: Oando is in crisis; investors are being fooled; Enough of the deceit, and a host of many others.
The shareholders further rejected the 2016 financial report presented by the Board, saying: “We have read several newspaper reports on allegations of gross mismanagement by the present Management of Oando Plc. “As it stands, Oando is in a very bad shape, although the company’s report points to the contrary. Despite these official denials, shareholders have lost a fortune with the shares of the company plummeting to the bottom.
“We have lost enormous sums of money with our relatives as a result. The value of our shares today stands at less than ten percent of what it used to be. It has plunged from a high of N95 less than ten years ago to as low as a little above N6 per share,” he said.
The protesting shareholders, who held down the proceedings of the meeting for over two hours were particularly concerned about the future of Oando, based on the Report of the Independent Auditors, for the year ended 31 December, 2016, in which they drew attention to the Material Uncertainty Related to Going Concern.
The report read in part: “We draw attention to Note 45 in the financial statements, which indicates that the Company reported a comprehensive loss for the year of N33.9billion (2015: loss N56.6billion) and as at date, its current asset exceeded current liabilities by N14.6billion (2015: N32.8billion net current liability). The Group reported a comprehensive income of N112.4billion for the year ended 31 December 2016 (2015: loss N37billion) and as at that date, its current liability exceeded current assets by N263.8billion (2015: N260.4billion).
“As stated in the note, these conditions, along with other matters, indicate that a material uncertainty exists that may cast significant doubt on the company (and Group’s) ability to continue as a going concern.”
But, Oando in a statement in Lagos, said the disturbances delayed the proceedings of the meeting for only about 15 minutes, while claiming that the aggrieved parties were not shareholders, as all shareholders were allowed access to the venue to raise their legitimate concerns to management and the Board.
The company added that shareholders subsequently voted unanimously to all resolutions, expressing confidence in the management team, led by the Group Chief Executive Officer, Wale Tinubu, and retaining the company’s Board of Directors.
“There was a protest outside the venue carried out by non-shareholders as all shareholders were allowed access to the venue to raise their legitimate concerns to management and the Board.”
Notwithstanding the fact that all the motions presented at the meeting were approved by the shareholders, some of their representatives had requested a quick resolution to the issues raised by the petitioners to enable Oando management focus on building the brand.
They also urged the shareholders to resolve their disputes with the company in private to avoid unnecessary sensationalism.