UnityKapital Assurance Plc in a notice sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Tuesday announced the divestment of Unity Bank’s holdings in the firm. Veritas capital is the new majority shareholder.
The company also announced the resignation of several of its Non Executive Directors. In a twist however, some of the new non Executive Directors appointed are also directors of Unity Bank.
The said directors are: Mr Thomas Etuh, Mr Aminu Babangida, Dr. Olufunsho Obasanjo and Hajiya Yabawa Lawan Wabi. Mr Thomas Etuh and Mr Aminu Babangida are Chairman and Vice Chairman respectively of Unity Bank.
The appointments leave a few pertinent questions unanswered:
- Does Unity Bank have any stake in Veritas Capital which recently acquired the controlling stake in UnityKapital Assurance Plc?
- If not, why have directors from Unity Bank being appointed to the reconstituted UnityKapital Assurance board?
- If both companies share common directors after divestment, then one wonders if a divestment has taken place.
In what may be an oversight, the regulators including the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) did not query the deal. The CBN had earlier given banks a deadline to either spin off non banking subsidiaries or form a holding company, in line with regulatory requirements. Unity Bank had in February 2014 divested from all other non banking subsidiaries it had held.
An email inquiry sent to the bank did not get a formal response.
Unity bank commenced operations in June 2006 following the merge of 9 commercial banks. UnityKapital assurance is also a product of the merger of 3 insurance firms Global Commerce and General Insurance Plc, Intercontinental Assurance Plc and Kapital Insurance Company Limited in 2007.
UnityKapital shares are currently trading at 50 kobo per share which is the minimum price a stock can trade on the NSE. Unity Bank closed yesterday at 67 kobo, up 21.9% year to date.