It was celebrations galore at Access Bank over the weekend as the Nigerian Tier 1 bank hosted its annual Xmas party for staff, business partners and friends of the bank. The annual event themed “Havana Nights” is one of the most sought-after corporate Xmas parties and lived up to its billing.
In attendance were the bank’s top echelon including the Managing Director of the bank Herbert Wigwe. As a plethora of top artists including the likes of Tiwa Savage, Burna Boy, Wizkid and Mayorkun wowed fans with their on-stage performances, negotiations for a merger between Access Bank and Diamond Bank reached closing stages. Top executives of both banks had just hammered out what sources termed the key commercial terms of a potential merger that could usher in one of the largest banks in sub-Saharan Africa.
The celebrations continued into Sunday as Access Bank hosted the Born in Africa Concert at Eko Atlantic City. Guests seated at the VVIP (Very very important personality) section of the packed event were seen clinking glasses as they cheered on to another blockbuster merger that is set to make Access Bank the largest bank in Nigeria by asset base. As the clock ticked towards midnight, local media had picked up the cheering news. Finally, Access Bank will be acquiring (or merging with) Diamond Bank.
Sprawling rumours now confirmed.
Rumours of a potential merger deal surfaced a few weeks back to the shock of the investing community. However, both banks issued statements denying that any merger talks were ongoing. Despite the denials, people familiar with the transaction inform Nairametrics that the deal was never off the table and had been going on for weeks. Both sides had already facilitated the presence of a due diligence team from one of the big three audit firms.
According to a source, a board meeting was held over the weekend approving the merger terms after weeks of negotiations surrounding several aspects of the transaction. Both banks are now expected to formally seek a shareholder agreement before applying for the approval of the CBN and Securities & Exchange Commission.
There is still a long way to go before this deal will be completed. Nairametrics believes the following set of activities will take place before Access Bank merges with Diamond Bank.
Formal Announcement – We expected a formal announcement to be made via the Nigerian Stock Exchange in the early morning of trading. Typically, deals like this are announced on the stock exchange before a board approval of announced. It appears negotiations had ensued without the knowledge of the stock exchange.
Shareholder Approval – Following the approval of the board of directors of both banks, an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders of the banks will be held respectively. At the meeting, shareholders of both banks will be expected to grant their consent.
Regulatory approval – The approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria will have to be obtained. Whilst we do not see any potential snag, the apex bank will still need to confirm if depositors funds are not in anyway in danger of being impacted by this transaction. The Security and Exchange Commission, SEC, will also be required to approve the transaction in line with its extant laws. SEC will review the impact on shareholders value before an approval is received.
Further negotiations continue – The banks will continue to negotiate other aspects of the deal such as the offer price, asset valuations, board memberships, employee to be sacked or retained etc.
As midnight approached, the party had just begun at the Access Bank sponsored Born in Africa concert. The night is bound to be a very long one as other major Nigerian artists such as Davido, Tiwa Savage etc. were yet to perform. Event attendees are in for a long and enjoyable night and have nothing to worry about except to savour the moment. Same can be said of Access Bank as they look forward to an eventful week of anouncement what is arguable the biggest merger in over a decade in Nigeria.
Lagos State government seals warehouse repackaging expired curry powder
Following an anonymous tip, LASCOPA has sealed off a warehouse where expired curry powder was being packaged.
The Lagos State Consumer Protection Agency (LASCOPA), under the aegis of the Lagos State Government, has sealed a warehouse for repackaging unwholesome and expired curry powder.
This disclosure was made this morning in a press release to the general public, which was seen by Nairametrics, via the official website of Lagos State Government.
Acting on an anonymous tip-off from a member of the public, the Special Monitoring Team of LASCOPA, led by its General Manager, Mrs. Kemi Olugbode, paid an unscheduled assessment visit to the warehouse, to verify the claim. The tip turned out to be genuine.
This decision is in line with the State Government’s core mandate of protecting consumers from unwholesome products. The warehouse which was sealed by LASCOPA, for repackaging unwholesome and expired curry powder with the name Chinchilli and Ducross for sale, was said to be owned by Canvest Nigeria Limited. The warehouse is located at Plot 4, Cocoa Industrial Road, Ogba, Ikeja.
The General Manager, speaking after the exercise, said the enforcement team discovered thousands of expired products stored in cartons, while some were found in sacks that were ready to be repackaged for sale in the market.
The Head of LASCOPA, emphasized that the staffs of the company involved in the fraudulent operation have been arrested. Olugbode disclosed that the property will remain sealed until the government commences prosecution of the owners of the warehouse, and all those involved in the illicit activity are apprehended.
Mrs. Olugbode, also encouraged members of the public to support the present administration’s determination to rid Lagos of all illegal activities, by reporting those who are engaged in unwholesome activities that are detrimental to the health of residents.
FG to seek international cooperation to curb illicit financial flows
FG hopes to strengthen international cooperation in curtailing the menace of illicit financial flows.
The Federal Government has said that there is a compelling need to strengthen international cooperation in the global effort to curtail the menace of illicit financial flows, as current international mechanisms are not strong enough.
This was disclosed by President Muhammadu Buhari in a speech delivered on his behalf by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday at the Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity (FACTI) Panel Video Conference.
Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement in Abuja, explained that the event was held at the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
The session also featured presentations by the immediate past President of the United Nations General Assembly, Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, and Amb. Mona Jul of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
He said, “The current international mechanisms for asset recovery are not good enough as can be seen in the amount lost to illicit financial flows and the length of time taken before the repatriation of just a small fraction is made.
“The FACTI Panel report can play an important role in bridging the expectations of source and destination countries as well as in harmonising the process of assets recovery and return. We agree with the Panel on the importance of having a balanced approach that reflects the situation in different regions and the priorities of different stakeholders. I believe that for the global aspiration to recover better from the impact of the pandemics and to yield any inclusive result, we must comprehensively address existing structures that make it impossible for countries to generate and retain a sizeable chunk of their resources. The success of the FACTI panel’s final report will be measured by the clarity of its recommendations in support of global governance reforms.”
According to the President, evidence suggested that the contemporary international tax system used a taxing rights regime that was not fit for purpose.
He added that the system makes combating tax abuses, especially by multinational corporations, difficult for most developing countries.
“It is my hope that the final report of the FACTI Panel would introduce proposals that would lead us towards a fairer international tax regime .I also hope that the report would contain proposals that would address the continuing advocacy for country-by-country reporting, open disclosure and automatic exchange of information on beneficial ownership, as well as eliminate financial secrecy jurisdictions and tax havens that facilitate base erosion and profit shifting. Profit shifting, harmful tax competition–the so-called “race to the bottom–and the taxation of the digital economy should also receive adequate attention and focus in the report of the Panel. FACTI Panel’s report should assess how effectively we are meeting our commitments to combating the scourge and strengthening cooperation in dispute settlement and peer learning, particularly in assets recovery and return,” he said.
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Other leaders who spoke at the forum included the Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Niazi and Former President of Lithuania, and FACTI Panel Co-Chair, Dalia Grybauskaite.
Ibrahim Mayaki, former Prime Minister of Niger and FACTI Panel Co-Chair, also spoke at the event.
N4.16 billion unpaid lottery revenue recovered by EFCC
The EFCC has made a recovery of the sum of N4.16 billion for the government from lottery companies.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has announced that it recovered over N4.16 billion for the government from lottery companies which they had refused to remit.
This was disclosed by the Acting Chairman. Mohammed Umar Abbah on Thursday evening, at the EFCC Headquarters during a meeting with Williams Alo of the Ministerial Task Force for recovery of unpaid revenues from lottery businesses.
The EFCC acting chairman said that the lottery companies were not forthcoming with remitting the revenue which had forced the anti-graft agency to intervene.
“We mapped out strategies which resulted in the recovery of over N1.16 billion from lottery companies, operating in Abuja with over N3 billion from their counterparts, operating in Lagos State,” he said.
He added that the EFCC would continue with its cooperation with the Federal Government to ensure lottery companies owing the Federal Government are made to cough out revenues they owe the government, which has already been handed over to the lottery trust fund.
“Let me acknowledge the efforts of this Commission for the assistance it has rendered not only to the Federal Government of Nigeria but specifically to the lottery industry in Nigeria. It is in our record that the EFCC has assisted the lottery business in no small way, because a lot of recoveries have been made for us by the EFCC and the money recovered has always been handed over to the lottery trust fund,” Mr. Alo said.