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Otedola Increases Stake in First Bank, Now Holds, 7.57 Percent in FBN Holdings

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Femi Otedola

The corporate industry is not immune to power tussle, as wealthy and influential people in different economic sectors go head to head with shares and stakes. Femi Otedola, the billionaire investor and the Chairman of Geregu Power Plant, has once again increased his stake in FBN Holdings (the parent company of First Bank) to 7.57 percent. This makes him the single largest majority holder in the bank, according to public disclosure of ownership.

Femi Otedola and Tunde Hassan-Odukale, the Chairman of First Bank and the Managing Director of Leadway Assurance Company Limited, have been in a sort of tussle concerning First Bank shares for quite some time.  Femi Otedola acquired 1.81 billion shares earlier in the year through his investment vehicle, Calvados Global Services Limited. However, the share acquisition was surprising as neither Otedola nor First Bank informed the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX) during the acquisition process.

The possibility of Otedola taking over did not sit right with Tunde Hassan-Odukale and his supporters, as a letter later appeared online that Odukale was the largest shareholder in First Bank Holdings, but this claim was not supported by the financial statements released from 2020 to 2021.

The letter was quickly recognised as an attempt to push back Otedola, who was all out to own a sizeable chunk of the leading financial institution.

After reports that Otedola was set to take over and the letter claiming that Odukale has more than 5%, First Bank released its own report denying any such shareholder but later acknowledged that Otedola has revealed the number of his shares.

Later on, First Bank confirmed that both Otedola and Odukale were in possession of more than 5% controlling stake.

To be precise, Femi Otedola’s stake in FBN Holdings was 5.07 percent at the time. However, news started going around that Seye Kosoko, the company secretary had attributed Leadway Pensure PFA’s entire 2.11% stake in the bank to Tunde Hassan-Odukale in a letter forwarded to the Nigerian Exchange limited (NGX).

That would have taken Tunde Hassan-Odukale’s total shares to 5.36%, which would have made him the single largest shareholder in the company as it would have totaled higher than Femi Otedola’s stake which was at 5.07% at the time.

However, the National Pension Commission (Pencom) confirmed that any funds invested in First Bank Holdings by Leadway Pensure Ltd belong to the holders of Retirement Savings Accounts (RSA). This confirmation silenced any claims that Odukale owned a stake of up to 5.36%.

First Bank also went ahead to explain that it did not list Tunde Hassan-Odukale as a 5% holder, but divided and recorded his shares as 4.16% (direct, personal shares) and 1.2% for Leadway shares.

Naturally, holding a stake of more than 5% in a company like First Bank is likely to give one a sense of power and control given the numerous investors in the leading bank.

Otedola has been an active participator in the Bank’s dealings. In October, he placed on record that he had invested the amount of $30 million in the bank’s long-term debt instrument, which was classified as Tier II capital and which makes a vital portion of the bank’s capital base.

Otedola said he made the investment due to his faith in the Nigerian economy which he termed as resilient and with a bright future. He urged people to look into the future, stating that the security challenges plaguing the country will be resolved and the country will once again receive its glory status.

The power tussle is ongoing as both sides have made moves and responded to the moves of the ‘opposition’.

A report made on December 11 revealed that about 1.1 billion units of First Bank of Nigeria Holding shares had been exchanged in only four days. This suggests that the battle for control of the bank is still ongoing, with no end in sight. The data was gathered from the daily trade volumes that were recorded by the company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange’s trading engine.

The data shows that 128.8 million units were traded on Monday, with 364 million units coming on Tuesday. Wednesday saw the trade of 441.9 million units and Thursday witnessed 228.5 million shares traded.

The power tussle however took another turn on December 9, 2021. Femi Otedola announced in a letter addressed to the bank that he had acquired additional shares in the company which now gives him an ownership of 7.57% in the bank.

According to market operators, Otedola has the right to purchase additional shares from the secondary market if they are available in order to increase his holdings in the bank. However, a Spokesperson for the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) stated that the NGX was not aware of the acquisition and was therefore unable to comment.

In the letter, it was seen that Otedola acquired these shares through his proxies Calvados Global Services, Primose Global Concept, Shetland Global, Wells Properties and Impetus Synergy. The letter read, “I have recently acquired additional shares in FBN Holdings Plc (the Company) which has brought my total stake to 7.57% of the issued shares capital of the company.”

After this acquisition, it has been revealed that Femi Otedola has now spent a huge amount of N44.8 billion on investment in FBN Holdings Ltd. Since he has announced the acquisition of 2.7 billion shares, the average price at which he has acquired the FBN Holding shares is N16.48 per share. In comparison, the share price closed at N11.6 per share yesterday.

This new purchase has formally solidified his status as the biggest shareholder of FBN Holdings, very well ahead of his biggest rival in the company, Tunde Hassan-Odukale who is the Chairman of First Bank. Tunde Hassan-Odukale and Femi Otedola have been going at each other since October, when the news of Otedola’s share acquisitions became public knowledge late in the month.

It would be interesting to see how Tunde Hassan-Odukale responds to Otedola’s new acquisition. Following the trajectory of the power tussle, it would be unsurprising to see Hassan-Odukale either announce some new shares or begin the process of acquiring additional shares. However, at the moment Femi Otedola remains the man witrh the title of biggest shareholder.

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Group Of World’s Millionaires Offer To Pay More Tax

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tax relief

In an unusual turn of events, a group of more than 100 of the world’s richest people has called on governments to make them pay more tax.

The group, named ‘The Patriotic Millionaires‘, in an open letter published on Wednesday, said the ultra-wealthy were not being forced to pay their share towards the global economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

“As millionaires, we know that the current tax system is not fair,” they said in the letter signed by Disney heiress Abigail Disney and Nick Hanauer.

Mr. Hanauer is a US entrepreneur and an early investor in online retail giant Amazon.

They noted that while the world has gone through an immense amount of suffering in the last two years, they have seen their wealth rise during the pandemic. They stressed that few can honestly say that they pay their fair share in taxes.

In part, the letter reads, “This injustice baked into the foundation of the international tax system has created a colossal lack of trust between the people of the world and the elites who are the architects of this system. Bridging that divide is going to take more than billionaire vanity projects or piecemeal philanthropic gestures – it’s going to take a complete overhaul of a system that up until now has been deliberately designed to make the rich richer.”

The group further stated that to restore trust following a series of issues trailing the global tax system, it is imperative that the rich are properly taxed across the globe.

“To put it simply, restoring trust requires taxing the rich. The world – every country in it – must demand the rich pay their fair share. Tax us, the rich, and tax us now.

“The truth is that ‘Davos’ doesn’t deserve the world’s trust right now. For all the countless hours spent talking about making the world a better place, the conference has produced little tangible value amidst a torrent of self-congratulations. Until participants acknowledge the simple, effective solution staring them in the face – taxing the rich – the people of the world will continue to see their so-called dedication to fixing the world’s problems as little more than a performance”, the letter added.

Research by Credit Suisse revealed that in 2020, the number of millionaires increased by 5.2 million to a total of 56.1 million globally.

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Abdulsamad Rabiu Makes N420.5 Billion in a Week After Listing BUA Foods

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Abdul Samad Rabiu

Billionaire industrialist and philanthropist, Abdulsamadu Isyaku Rabiu has realised N420.5 billion in profit since listing BUA Foods Plc on the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) on Wednesday 5, January 2022.

BUA Foods Plc, an arm of BUA Group of companies, listed 18 billion ordinary shares at N40 a unit. As at the time of listing last week Wednesday, the company’s market capitalisation was N720 billion.

According to the company’s listing memorandum, Abdulsamadu Isyaku Rabiu’s stake in BUA Foods stood at 89.85 percent or 16,172,851,967 shares. Meaning, Mr Rabiu’s shares were worth N646,914,078,680 on January 5, 2022, when the company’s total valuation was N720 billion.

However, exactly a week later on Wednesday, January 12, 2022, the value of a unit share of BUA Foods rose by 65 percent from N40 to N66. This bolstered the market capitalisation of the newly listed company to N1.188 trillion.

While the value of Mr. Rabiu 16,172,851,967 shares or 89.85 percent stake in the company rose from N646,914,078,680 last week to N1,067,408,229,822 on Wednesday 12, January 2022. This represents a gain of N420,494,151,142 or 65 percent in one week.

Forbes estimated Mr. Rabiu to worth $4.5 billion and ranked him as the 574th wealthiest man alive. However, with BUA Foods listing and Mr. Rabiu’s 98 percent stake in BUA Cement with a market capitalisation of N2,319,708,253,110 or $5,616,727,005, using CBN N413 forex exchange rate. Mr. Rabiu’s 98 percent stake in BUA Cement is $5,504,392,465, and using the same CBN rate, his holding in BUA Foods is presently estimated at $2,584,523,559. Meaning, Abdulsamadu Isyaku Rabiu is now worth an estimated $8,088,916,024, making him the second richest man in Nigeria just after Alhaji Aliko Dangote and toppling Mike Adenuga, the founder of Globacom.

The other six shareholders, as of the day of listing, also gained 65 percent each. According to the shareholding structure of BUA Foods, Alhaji Abdulsamadu Isyaku Rabiu (Jnr) held 1,792,096,099 shares or 9.956 percent in the company. CardinalStone Trustees Limited and Kabiru Isyaku Rabiu hold 31,910,000 and 1,101,654 shares or 0.177 percent and 0.006 percent, respectively.

BUA Group Limited, BUA International Limited and BUA Industries Limited owned 971,475 or 0.005 percent, 583,372 or 0.003 percent and 485,433 or 0.003 percent, respectively.

BUA Foods Plc focuses on cultivating, processing, manufacturing, producing, mixing, packing, preserving, extracting, refining, importing, exporting, buying, selling, trading, and dealing in all kinds of foods, consumables, food materials or derivatives as well as raw materials for making all kinds of foods, food products and ingredients for making any kind of foods and consumables.

As at the day of listing, the capacity utilisation of the Company’s business divisions are as follows: Sugar Division 75 percent, Flour Division 84 percent, and Pasta Division 54 percent.

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Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao Net Worth Rivals Tech Giants, Amasses $96 Billion Excluding Crypto Holdings

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Changpeng Zhao, Binance CEO

Early cryptocurrency believers and investors are now rivaling tech giants in net worth, Changepeng Zhao, the CEO and Founder of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange platform now worth an estimated $96 billion excluding his private cryptocurrency holdings, according to a Bloomberg report released on Sunday.

The world’s most prominent cryptocurrency personality, Zhao is closing in on Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, three of the world’s leading tech billionaires. At $96 billion, Zhao is richer than Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s richest person and could worth more if private cryptocurrency holdings are factored in.

“Zhao’s fortune could be significantly larger, as the wealth estimate doesn’t take into account his personal crypto holdings, which include Bitcoin and his firm’s own token. The so-called Binance Coin surged roughly 1,300% last year,” the report noted.

Zhao, 44, founded Binance in China before it was banned amid a series of regulatory probes. Presently, the U.S. Department of Justice and Internal Revenue Service are investigating whether Zhao controlled Binance Holdings Ltd., is involved in money laundering and tax evasion.

In 2021, Binance realised about $20 billion in revenue, going by Bloomberg estimates of the company’s trading volume and fees. To put things in perspective, that is triple of what Wall Street experts are projecting that the newly listed Coinbase Global Inc., valued at $50 billion will generate in 2021.

“Coinbase might appear to be the 800-pound gorilla from a U.S. perspective, but Binance is significantly bigger,” said Chris Brendler analyst with DA Davidson & Co.

At a Bloomberg New Economy Forum held in Singapore, Zhao revealed some of the company’s numbers. He said Binance, at some point, has done $170 billion in transactions in 24 hours and on a slow day, does about $40 billion.

The report assumed Zhao’s stake in Binance is about 90 percent. However, Zhao declined to comment and disputed the accuracy of Bloomberg estimates.

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