Atlas Mara Limited is inching closer to the takeover of Union Bank of Nigeria, as the company affirmed an agreement to acquire additional shares that will take their shareholding to 49 per cent from 48 per cent.
The sub-Saharan African financial services group, yesterday, said its pursuit of 280,956,166 additional shares in the bank will increase its combined direct and indirect shareholding, which will position it for any possible takeover.
According to the NIPC Intelligence, published by the Nigeria Investment Promotion Council, Atlas Mara, had already filed applications for the New Shares to be admitted to the Official List of the UK Listing Authority and trading on the London Stock Exchange.
The admission was expected to become effective, with dealings in the New Shares to commence as at yesterday’s morning.
The Guardian’s efforts to clarify the development with the bank’s Head of Corporate Affairs/Communications, Mrs. Ogochukwu Ekezie-Ekaidem, was not successful, as she neither picked calls nor responded to several text messages.
The New Shares will rank pari passu with the existing ordinary shares and following the admission of the new shares, the company will have 174,618,767 ordinary shares in issue, of which 1,545,764 shares are in treasury and 3,298,298 shares are held in escrow as part of the contingent consideration for the acquisition of Finance Bank Zambia Limited, as disclosed to the market on July 1, 2016.
NIPC Intelligence quoted a report from Atlas Mara as saying: “We hereby confirm that the total number of voting rights in Atlas Mara is 169,774,705. This figure should be used by shareholders as the denominator for the calculations by which they will determine if they are required to notify their interest in, or a change in their interest in, the share capital of the company under the FCA’s Disclosure and Transparency Rules.”
Union Bank recorded considerable growth in key performance indicators in the first quarter of this year, giving prospects of better returns for the 2018 business year.
The bank’s interim report and accounts for the first quarter ended March 31, 2018, showed that gross earnings rose by 15 per cent, while profits before and after tax grew by 16 per cent and 17 per cent respectively.
The first quarter earnings report, which was released alongside the audited report for 2017, yesterday, at the nation’s bourse showed that Union Bank improved on its performance in 2017.
The three-month report showed gross earnings of N39.5 billion in first quarter 2018 as against N34.3 billion in first quarter 2017.
Profit before tax rose from N4.7 billion in first quarter 2017 to N5.4 billion in first quarter 2018, while profit after tax also increased to N5.3 billion in first quarter 2018, compared with N4.5 billion recorded in comparable period of 2017.