Femi Otedola, Nigeria’s billionaire magnate and chairman of Geregu Power Plc, has increased his stake in FBN Holdings Plc, the parent company of Nigeria’s oldest lender First Bank, stating that the financial services group’s heated battle for its soul among its principal shareholders is far from over.
According to many sources familiar with the situation, Mr Otedola purchased at least a 2.5 percent extra interest in the company, bringing his total ownership to 7.57 percent. Mr. Otedola had already made piecemeal purchases totaling 5.07 percent.
The purchase will formally solidify his position as FBN Holdings’ single largest shareholder, putting him well ahead of his closest rival, FirstBank Chairman Tunde Hassan-Odukale, with whom he has been at odds since the news of his share purchases became public in late October.
Mr Hassan-Odukale was prompted by Mr Otedola’s earlier move to claim a 5.36 percent position in the holdco, which he described as a “cumulative equity stake” derived from a combination of his direct, indirect, and related party shareholding in the group.
The board of FBN Holdings sent a letter to the Corporate Affairs Commission a few days later, notifying Hassan-“5.36 Odukale’s percent” cumulative stake and other facts, as witnessed by Premium Times. The letter was not delivered to the commission, according to a representative for the commission.
While the NGX questioned FBN Holdings in October, asking it to explain what it meant by “cumulative equity stake” and Mr Hassan-claim Odukale’s to investment by Leadway Pensure PFA, the pension office later confirmed that FBN Holdings Plc shares belong to Retirement Savings Account holders, not a third party, as FBN Holdings had claimed.
After deducting the controversial stake, Hassan Odukale’s interest in the entity is technically 4.31 percent.