*Battle for control intensifies
As the battle for the control of First Bank of Nigeria Holdings Plc intensifies, Oba Otudeko’s Honeywell Group last Thursday bought 4,770,269,843 shares of the firm in a cross deal worth N87.8 billion.
These shares which Otudeko bought at N19 per unit are the largest volume of First Bank shares traded in a single day since 2012, when the stock exchange started publishing data. The acquisitions take his shareholding to 14 percent of the bank’s outstanding market value.
A “disclosure of shareholding” sent to the Company Secretary, FBN Holdings Plc and dated July 7, 2023, by Honeywell Group Limited stated: “We write on behalf of Barbican Capital Limited, an affiliate of Honeywell Group Limited and refer to the provisions of Sections 119 and 120 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020 (as amended).
“In addition to the previously disclosed interests by Honeywell Group Limited’s affiliates, kindly take this as notification that, as at 7th July 2023, Barbican Capital Limited has acquired an aggregate of 4,770,269,843 shares in FBN Holdings Plc. Kindly accept the assurances of our highest regards. Yours faithfully, Yewande Giwa Head, Governance & Sustainability.”
On the same day, FBN Holdings Plc acknowledged Honeywell Group Limited’s acquisitions. In a letter signed by Adewale Arogundade, Acting Company Secretary, it stated: “This is to inform the public and our stakeholders that the Company received a notification dated July 7, 2023 from Honeywell Group Limited that its affiliate, Barbican Capital Limited has acquired an aggregate of 4,770,269,843 units of shares from the Company’s issued share capital of 35,895,292,791, as at the above referenced date. Based on the foregoing, the equity stake of Barbican Capital Limited in the Company is 13.3%.”
Otudeko, who was chairman of First Bank until 2019, is making a swift comeback to become the single largest shareholder of the bank.Billionaire Femi Otedola became the bank’s single largest shareholder in 2021 after a tussle with Hassan Odukale who was also vying for control of the bank after a leadership gap emerged from Otudeko’s exit.
“Otudeko is flush with cash from the sale of Honeywell and is buying back the bank’s shares through entities linked to him,” a source familiar with the matter said.With Otudeko now leading the battle for the control of First Bank of Nigeria Holdings Plc with 14 percent shareholding, Otedola drops to second with nine percent shareholding. Hassan Odukale and Mike Adenuga are joint third, each with seven percent shareholding. Saheed Arisekola is fourth with five percent shareholding.
Honeywell Group’s Barbican Capital Limited was incorporated on the 9th of March 2023 – RC 6900918. Persons with significant control of the firm are Otudeko’s children – Oyeleye Foluke of Oladipo Diya Street, Abacha Estate, 2nd Avenue, Ikoyi, Lagos and Otudeko Obafemi Adedamola of Mekunwen Street, Ikoyi, Lagos.The 4,770,269,843 shares bought were moved from 26 different accounts. They are Dogonyaro Investments Limited, Home Securities Limited, Skyview Estates Limited, Thames Investments & Sec Ltd, ESBI(WA) Limited, Fistful Securities Limited, Zanfara Packages, Row Park Limited, Edenvale Limited, Mansion House Limited, Bethlehem Properties Limited, Musa Haruna Foods, Yazidu Zakari Ventures Limited, Thornbull Securities Limited, Moore House Limited, Impressario Limited, Mahmoud Alheri Limited, Timothy Banfield Limited, The WhitBread Limited and Penrose Securities Limited.Flour Mills, Nigeria’s biggest miller by market value, snapped up Otudeko’s Honeywell Flour Mills Plc last year in a deal worth N82 billion.