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Financial Services

Atlas Mara continues talk with creditors, as one proceeds with court actions

Atlas Mara has disclosed that it is in talks with creditors to achieve a comprehensive debt restructuring.



Atlas Mara Limited, a sub-Saharan African financial services group listed on the London Stock Exchange, has disclosed that it is in talks with creditors to achieve a comprehensive debt restructuring.

Atlas Mara said recently that it is in talks with the principal holders of $81 million of convertible bonds due Dec. 31 and other creditors “regarding a range of options to address the upcoming debt maturities.”

In a press release seen by Nairametrics, Atlas Mara revealed its strategy of engaging its creditors on negotiating new terms of its loans was ongoing. Its bonds fell due on 31 December 2020. Atlas Mara is the majority shareholder of Nigeria’s Union Bank Plc.

Atlas Mara earlier reported in December that it had “entered into a standstill agreement with certain creditors in respect of the Company’s and ABC Holdings Limited (“ABCH”)’s financing arrangements (the “Standstill”). Creditors representing over 87.7 percent of the aggregate amount outstanding under bilateral facilities of the Company and ABCH agreed to enter the Standstill or similar bilateral agreements. The Standstill was also entered into by over 60 percent of the principal holders of the Group’s convertible bonds due 31 December 2020.”

Micheal Wilkerson Chairman, Atlas Mara

The Standstill agreement gives Atlas Mara “sufficient time for engagement” between it and its creditors to reach an agreement over its debt and that of its subsidiary ABCH’s debt.  The Standstill Agreement also allows the creditors who signed up to it not to exercise “certain rights, or otherwise take actions, in respect of rights and repayments that may arise under the convertible bonds and bilateral facilities as a result of the Group not making principal and interest payments, until and including the earlier of 31 March 2021 (unless extended) and termination of the Standstill” it explained in the press release.

Creditors demand payment, as one takes Atlas to court

As discussions continue with holdout creditors and other bilateral lenders, Atlas disclosed that lawyers acting for TLG ATMA Limited, one of its holdout creditors, have filed an application with the High Court of Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, British Virgin Islands pursuant to section 159, section 162(a) and section 162(1)9b) of the Insolvency Act 2003.

“A small holdout creditor, TLG, has filed a Court application against the Company. The Company sees TLG’s actions as both hostile and detrimental to the interests of the Company and its creditors, including TLG itself. A number of significant creditors have, since TLG’s application, reaffirmed their support for the Company and intend to assist in contesting TLG’s actions.” Atlas Mara

Nairametrics understands TLG Capital, a private equity firm is seeking for liquidation of Atlas Mara to enable it to recover its $10.8 million loans including interest and other costs.

According to Atlas Mara,  TLG and two other creditors “did not agree to enter into the Standstill or similar arrangement with the Company, notwithstanding the benefits of the Standstill to the Company’s creditors as a whole.”

What you should know

  • Atlas Mara has total long-term debt of about $373 million dollars.
  • Atlas Mara is in talks with Access Bank to sell its BancABC and other African assets of the pan-African banking group.
  • Access Bank Plc is interested in Bob Diamond’s Atlas Mara’s businesses in Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia.
  • TLG Capital has also rebuffed Atlas Mara’s claims.

Note: This article was updated to reflect new information.

Omokolade Ajayi is a graduate of Economics, and a certificate holder of the CFA Institute’s Investment Foundation Program. He is a business analyst, and equity market researcher, with wealth of experience as a retail investor. He is a business owner and a stern advocate of Financial literacy, who believes in the huge economic prospect of the Nigerian Payment channels and Fintech space.

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Financial Services

Jim Ovia is set to earn N9.58 billion in dividend for FY 2020

The highly revered banker is the single majority shareholder of Zenith Bank as he directly owns 3,546,199,395 units of the fast-rising bank stock.



Jim Ovia: From a clerk to founder of Nigeria's most profitable bank

The founder and Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Jim Ovia is expected to earn a massive sum of N9.575 billion in dividend for the financial year ended December 2020

The highly revered banker is the single majority shareholder of Zenith Bank as he directly owns 3,546,199,395 units of the fast-rising bank stock out of the 31,396,493,787 ordinary shares available. This gives him an 11.29% direct interest in the Tier -1 bank.

It’s however important to note that such dividend is subject to a 10% withholding tax in Nigeria.

READ: Is Zenith Bank thriving on the strength of sound financial indices?

Recall that about a day ago, the Board of Directors of the bank in a statement released via the Nigerian Stock Exchange proposed a final dividend of N2.70, amounting to a total payout of N3.00 per share for the financial year 2020 (interim: N0.30).

This proposal reflects the past year’s robust performance and appears to signal that Zenith bank remains well-positioned to perform in the current financial year. However, there was a lower payout ratio at 40.9% compared to FY’19 (42.1%).

  • Key earnings drivers to the financial year performance under review were a 90 basis points drop in the cost of funds to 2.1%, which propelled net interest income (+12.2% YoY) and a 3.8x jump in revaluation gains to N43.4 billion.
  • These offset pressures from operating costs (the cost to income ratio rose 1.2ppts to 50.0%) and impairment charges (cost of risk rose 40basis points to 1.5%)

READ: Jim Ovia: From a clerk to founder of Nigeria’s most profitable bank

Described as the ‘Godfather of banking in Nigeria’ by Forbes Africa, Jim Ovia is quite popular for his business dexterity and leadership skills, especially in the banking sector.

His early interest in technology was the reason Zenith Bank became the first Nigerian company to have a functional website in 1995 and was able to smoothly migrate its operations from analog times to a digital era.

From a single branch in a residential building, Zenith Bank now has hundreds of branches all over Nigeria and several subsidiaries in other countries. The bank became a Public Limited Company in 2001 and was listed on the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE), and later on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

On the 27th of April 2007, Zenith Bank Plc became the first Nigerian bank in 25 years to be licensed by the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA), giving rise to Zenith Bank UK Limited.

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Financial Services

Zenith Bank declares final dividend of N84.8 billion for shareholders

Zenith Bank declares final dividend of N84.8 billion for shareholders for 2020.



Zenith Bank Plc

The Board of Directors of Zenith Bank Plc has announced the payment of a final dividend of N2.70 for every share of 50k held by shareholders, amounting to a total of N84.8 billion for the year ended 2020.

This is according to a disclosure signed by the company’s secretary, Michael Osilama Etu and sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

According to the notification, the final dividend will be paid electronically to shareholders on the 16th of March, 2021, subject to appropriate withholding tax and approval from the Company’s Annual General Meeting. Other pre-requisite conditions for payment are;

  • Only shareholders whose names appear in the registrar of members as at the close of business on 8th of March, 2021 will be considered.
  • Shareholders must have completed the e-dividend registration and must have mandated the Registrar (Veritas Registrar Limited) to pay their dividends directly into their bank accounts.
  • In lieu of this, it is pertinent to note that the register of shareholders will be closed on 9th of March, 2021.

Zenith Bank Plc had earlier paid an interim dividend of 30k to its qualified shareholders on 22nd of September, 2020, thereby raising the total dividend declared by the financial giant in 2020 to N3.00, indicating an increase of about 7.1% when compared to the total dividend of N2.80 declared in 2019.

What you should know

  • Zenith Bank reported a profit before tax of N255.9 billion for FY 2020, indicating a growth of 5.2% YoY
  • It also posted a Profit After Tax figures of N230.6 billion for the period under review, indicating a growth of 10.4% YoY.
  • It has total shares outstanding of 31,396,493,787 and officially closed trading today with a share price of N26.

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