Scramble for First Bank shares continues

The shares of First Bank Holdings of Nigeria (FBHN) remained the most keenly contested shares among investors on Thursday with 162 million units traded, the most of any company for the fifth day running.

According to data obtained from the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX), 162,608,406 units of the bank’s shares valued at N187.29 million were exchanged Thursday.

The trading activity in FBHN is coming on the heels of an ownership tussle between Tunde Hassan-Odukale and Femi Otedola who are both vying to be the bank’s single largest shareholder.

The Board of FBNH also just announced that its retiring Group Managing Director U.K.Eke will be succeeded by Nnamdi Okonkwo, a development that was widely applauded by analysts and bankers who say Okonkwo would ride on prior experience to make considerable difference in the company.

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Okonkwo is regarded as a focused and result-oriented banker drawing from his days as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Fidelity Bank PLC.

Okonkwo’s digital retail strategy in Fidelity Bank will be beneficial to FBN Holdings Plc, this is coupled with his import & export strategy that gave Fidelity Bank a big leverage.

The continuing journey of Fidelity Bank Plc to a Tier-1 position started with Okonkwo as then CEO. He kept the bank on path of profitability year-on-year despite a challenging business environment that saw the divide between large and small banks widen.

“I think his appointment is hopefully a way to bring in new vista of growth opportunities to the Group, having just completed his tenure as CEO of Fidelity Bank ,” said Yadinma Onwu, Executive Vice Chairman, Funds Matrix and Assets Management Limited.

Onwu however said any rally in FBNH shares would be speculative for now, “as buyers of the stock are largely betting on possible demand from the significant shareholders who may possibly want to acquire more stake to outwin each other.”

First bank has risen by 62.9 percent this year, making it the best performing banking stock on the Nigerian Bourse.

Meanwhile, the holding company’s board announced Thursday that it has appointed Meristem Registrars Limited as the new Registrars to take over the Register of Members of FBN Holdings Plc, thereby replacing First Registrars and Investors Services Limited. This replacement of the registrars to the holding company becomes effective about a month from now on December 1, 2021.

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