FBN Holdings has appointed billionaire businessman, Femi Otedola, as the new chairman of its Board of Directors to succeed Ahmad Abdullahi.
In a corporate notice filed with the Nigerian Exchange Limited on Wednesday, the financial institution said Otedola was appointed at the board meeting.
Otedola had been appointed as a Non-Executive Director on August 15, 2023. His appointment was thereafter ratified by shareholders at its last Annual General Meeting.
In its unaudited consolidated financial statements for the period ended September 30, 2023, Otedola listed as the largest shareholder of First Bank of Nigeria Holdings Plc, despite the acquisition of 4.7 billion units of FBNH shares by the former chairman of the group, Oba Otudeko, in July.
Indirectly, Otedola held 1,989,342,376 units representing 5.54 per cent of the entire shareholding of the bank. Directly, Otedola held 40,033,982 units of FBN Holdings shares, which is 0.11 per cent.
Combined, Otedola hold 2,029,376,358 units of FBN Holdings shares which is about 5.65 per cent.
Speaking on the development, the President of the Pragmatic Shareholders Association, Bisi Bakare, said, “I’m happy about his appointment. He is a tested hand. He has been the chairman of many companies and he is presently the chairman of Geregu Power. We believe that Otedola will perform.
“If you look at any company where Otedola has been chairman, they were always the first companies to file their annual reports. I believe that he will introduce same to FBN Holdings. Anywhere Femi Otedola is, he always makes sure that he pays good dividends to minority shareholders. We hope that this time Otedola is going to be good to shareholders especially minority shareholders.”
She added that the minority shareholders community had deliberated extensively on Otedola becoming chairman of FBN Holdings and even conducted a poll on their WhatsApp group, where almost 50 per cent supported the billionaire businessman’s emergence as the lender’s chairman, over 20 per cent opposed and less than 20 per cent decided to abstain from the poll.
Speaking with The PUNCH, the National Coordinator of Progressive Shareholders Association, Boniface Okezie, said “This is a cheering news. Having being a board member, the board in their marathon meeting today deemed it fit to appoint him to lead the bank at this point in the state of the economy of the nation.
“Femi is tested and trusted. He can lead the financial institution to greater heights. Much is expected of him. There is no doubt that he will provide the right leadership for the group and do well. He is an investor, not an outsider. His money is there, so his eyes will be there to protect his investment.”
In terms of agenda, Okezie said dividend is a priority for minority investors.
“He must make sure that the holdco pays higher dividends to investors and also bring about bigger capital appreciation.”
With his latest appointment, Otedola will now chair two listed companies including power generation firm, Geregu Power Plc, which recorded a 74.11 per cent increase in its revenue to N82.91bn from N47.62bn as of the end of 2022.
This was the highest revenue it had earned in the last five years.
Its post-tax profit stood at N16.05bn higher than N10.17bn in the previous year.
Otedola holds 1,245 units of Geregu Power shares directly and 1,965.979,283 indirectly through Amperion Power Distribution Limited.
In January, Otedola, confirmed his “significant acquisition of shares in Dangote Cement,” saying that the “strategic investment underscores his confidence in Dangote Cement’s potential to generate foreign exchange for the country and his dedication to supporting businesses that contribute to Nigeria’s economic resilience.”
Otedola was one of the factors that shaped the capital market in 2023 especially with his acquisition of a 5.52 per cent stake in Transcorp Plc, making him the second largest shareholder of the company. He was next to United Bank for Africa nominees, which owned about 9.25 per cent of the company as of December 2022.
He has since divested from the indigenous conglomerate after his attempt at corporate takeover was rebuffed by the owners of the business.