Union Bank has downsized its business as it sold its United Kingdom subsidiary to MBU Capital Limited. The London-based management investment firm acquired Union Bank UK after emerging as the most preferred bidder.
The Nigerian lender fully divested its stake at the Union Bank UK, which is about 60 million shares and 50,000 deferred shares. The finalisation of the acquisition is, however, subject to the approvals of regulatory bodies – the Central Banks of the two countries involved.
What this means: With the divestment of its shares in the Union Bank UK, the Nigerian lender will no longer have an international subsidiary. Surprisingly, the exit of Union Bank of Nigeria from the international market comes at a period its competitors are making inroad into foreign market to expand their footprint in global banking.
Why the divestment? The downsizing of its lending business will enable the company pay needed attention to its Nigerian portfolio, which posted weak gross earnings recently. In a statement seen by Nairametrics, Union Bank said, “This sale is aligned with Union Bank’s strategy to geographically streamline its business operations to focus on growth opportunities in Nigeria.”
Speaking on the divestment, the Chief Executive Officer, Union Bank, Emeka Emuwa, said, “As the banking landscape shifts towards digital and agency banking to drive financial inclusion, the Nigerian market presents robust long-term opportunities for Union Bank. This divestment allows us channel our focus and capital towards mining those opportunities fully.
“Through the sale, we are better positioned to deliver greater value to the organization and its stakeholders as well as continue to build the future of banking in Nigeria. The terms of the sale of UBUK delivers substantial value to our shareholders, while also entrusting its customers and trading partners to a high-quality financial services institution who will work with existing management to deliver a stronger and more profitable entity.”
Meanwhile, the Founder and CEO of MBU Capital, Mohammed Iqbal, said, “We see a huge opportunity to build on UBUK’s strengths in international markets to create a new-style bank which is focused on the needs of UK and international SMEs and entrepreneurs. Many of these customers are seeking a bank which truly understands the needs of entrepreneurial, fast-growing businesses.
“We believe that our acquisition and vision for UBUK offers the potential for significant growth for the bank. We look forward to working with our new colleagues at UBUK to continue to service the needs of its clients. We also look forward to sustaining and deepening relationships with UBUK’s existing trading partners.”
Did divestment drag shares down? The shares of Union Bank of Nigeria plummeted on the day of the announcement, falling for the first time after four trading days. The divestment might have affected investors’ confidence, which saw them dumping shares.
Union Bank’s share price fell to N5.90 kobo on Tuesday, after rising to N6.20 kobo on January 22 from N6.05 the previous day (January 21), maintaining the N6.20 for six days straight until yesterday, January 28.
About MBU Capital Limited: The company is an investment management firm founded in 2013 and based in Mayfair, London. MBU Capital has active interests in financial services, healthcare, education, real estate and technology; and is led by a team of highly experienced investment and advisory professionals. MBU Capital (UK) LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Former Liberian President to sit on WHO review panel of COVID-19 response effort
Ellen Sirleaf has been picked alongside Helen Clark, to serve as co-chairs of the independent panel.
Following stern criticism by US President, Donald Trump, over their handling of the COVID-19 response efforts, the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced it will implement an independent panel to review said response efforts to the pandemic.
To this end, Liberia’s former President and West Africa’s first female President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has been picked alongside former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark, to serve as co-chairs of the independent panel. They will be responsible for selecting the other members of the panel, according to the WHO.
WHO’s Director-General, Tedros Adhanom, announced the panel will produce an interim report in a November meeting of global health ministers. Meanwhile, the substantive report would be produced by May 2021.
Tedros also said that the size of the pandemic calls for the need for a “commensurate evaluation, an honest evaluation”, adding that the WHO would be very serious with the preparation of the report.
The WHO members in May agreed to an independent review of the organization’s response to the pandemic. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said the review of the body’s response would be challenging but looks forward to her role in doing what she can contribute to the response of the pandemic’s challenges.
The panel will also report monthly updates on the body’s response and will not only review the WHO’s response but also the International community’s response. Tedros added that it’s time for an honest reflection on the global response, saying a response will help with lessons on the pandemic.
Presidency dismisses allegation of Osinbajo receiving N4 billion from recovered loots
The accusation was described to be an obvious campaign of lies and calumny.
The office of the Vice President has reacted to a series of tweets accusing Professor Yemi Osinbajo of instructing the embattled acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, to release the sum of N4 billion out of N39 billion that was recovered from alleged looters.
These allegations have been described as “false and baseless”.
A statement that was signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, said, “with all emphasis at our disposal, let it be firmly stated that these are totally false and baseless fabrications purposing to reflect goings-on at the probe panel investigating Mr Ibrahim Magu”.
Ibrahim Magu was relieved of his duties this week, after a probe was conducted on his activities as Acting Chairman of the nation’s anti-graft agency. He has since been replaced with Mohammed Umar.
Meanwhile, the statement by the Presidency also complained about the recent rise in people being paid to “peddle blatant falsehoods” against the Vice President and says Mr Osinbajo “will not be distracted by these obvious campaigns of lies and calumny”.
The statement added that the online publications “being criminally defamatory in nature” have been referred to law enforcement agencies for investigation.
OFFICE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT
— Presidency Nigeria (@NGRPresident) July 8, 2020
Stanbic IBTC observes closed period, as directors set to consider H1 results
The directors will also consider a proposal to pay an interim dividend to shareholders.
Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc announced earlier today that its board of directors will meet on Wednesday, July 29, as part of preparations towards the release of the company’s consolidated and separate audited financial statements for half-year 2020. The directors will also consider a proposal to pay the company’s shareholders an interim dividend.
A statement issued by the Stanbic IBTC to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) noted that the scheduled board meeting is in tandem with guidelines contained in section 1.2 of the NSE’s rules book.
In the meantime, the bank Hold-Co has already commenced observing its closed period ahead of the release of the half-year financial statements. Specifically, Stanbic IBTC began observing its closed period on June 1st, 2020, the implication being that all insiders and their relatives have been prohibited from trading the company’s shares for more than one month now.
Note that the Stanbic IBTC’s closed period will continue until the half-year financial statements are released. Part of the statement which was signed by Chidi Okezie (Company Secretary), said:
“In accordance with the provisions of Section 1.2 of the Rules of The Nigerian Stock Exchange (The NSE) relating to Board Meetings and General Meetings of Issuers, we would like to notify The NSE and our Shareholders, that a meeting of the Board of Directors of Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC (the Company) is scheduled to hold on Wednesday 29 July 2020 at 1:00 pm. The meeting will discuss amongst other items, the Company’s Consolidated and Separate Audited Financial Statements for the Half-year ended 30 June 2020 as well as a proposed interim dividend.
“In view of the above, the closed period for the release of half-year results, which commenced on Monday, 01 June 2020 will continue to be in effect until the release of the Company’s Half-year audited financial statements.”
Recall that the last earnings report that was released by Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc was for Q1 2020. The unaudited report showed that gross earnings stood at N61.4 billion as against N58.7 billion in Q1 2019, even though interest income for the period declined by 12% year on year to N27.5 billion. Meanwhile, profit for the period stood at N20.6 billion, an increase when compared to N19.2 billion in Q1 2019.
Stanbic IBTC Holdings’ share price closed at N30.25 at the end of today’s trading session on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Year to date, the stock has declined by nearly -20%.