First Bank Investors Lose N61bn in 2 Days Amid Otudeko, Ecobank Dispute

The ongoing legal dispute between Ecobank Nigeria Limited and former Chairman, FBN Holdings Plc, Oba Otudeko, appears to be taking a toll on the latter. Report indicates that the holding company in two days witnessed a 13.59% decline in its shares price

On Wednesday, July 12, 2023, shares of FBN Holdings declined by 10%, representing N63 billion in total investment by the shareholders of the company. The share price closed at N19.35.

Similarly, the total valuation of the company dipped to N710.72 billion from N771.74 billion reported the previous day as reported.

This is coming after reports of Oba Otudeko fighting back to take over FBN from Otedola as largest shareholder. Otudeko’s Honeywell Group, in a notification to the Securities and Exchange Commission of said the company had notified FBN and regulatory authorities concerning the acquisition of 4,770,269,843 shares of FBN by Barbican Capital Limited. Report by The Sun indicates that the development may have led to divided opinions among majority shareholders of FBN Holdings Plc who could be joining forces to fight off Otudeko from becoming the majority shareholder.

Meanwhile, FBN, in 2022 audited financial statement highlights about 35.8 billion shares outstanding. Out of this number, Femi Otedola has the highest shareholder of the bank with a direct and indirect holdings of 5.57 per cent with about 12.2 per cent of the shares traded and with bank’s last audited accounts listing billionaire investor.

In a related news, reported that Ecobank, in a written communication to FBN Holdings requested a temporary suspension of proceedings regarding Otudeko’s acquisition of 4.77 billion shares.

Kunle Ogunba and Associate, the legal counsel for the bank, expressed concern on the indebtedness of the the business and its affiliate entities. The letter signed by Oludare Amusan, the principal partner of the firm highlights that the total amount owed by the magnate through his affiliated entities was N13.5 billion. The chairman of Honeywell Group advised FBN to disregard Ecobank’s request to reject his acquisition of 4.77 billion shares. Wole Olanipekun, the legal representative for Otudeko and Honeywell Group, asserted that Ecobank’s letter mentioning a debt of N13.5 billion was not supported by the Supreme Court’s decision or any other existing court ruling in Nigeria or elsewhere.

According to Olanipekun, Dr. Oba Otudeko, CFR, and Honeywell Group PIc were not involved in the Supreme Court decision, and no order was issued against them.

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