It’s no longer a surprise that First Bank shares have been consistently declining, resulting in significant losses for shareholders ever since the battle for control of the bank began.
A report by Enigeria News has documented the ongoing struggles among billionaires vying for control of the bank since 2019 when a management shakeup led to the removal of Ibukun Awosika, who was allegedly associated with Oba Otudeko. This operation, reportedly orchestrated by the then-disgraced and suspended former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, unveiled several sensitive issues that nearly jeopardized First Bank, despite its classification as a Systemically Important Bank (SIB).
However, in a recent and contentious comeback bid, Otudeko acquired the largest share in First Bank through a cross-deal valued at N87.8 billion in June 2023. This move made him the largest individual shareholder in the bank, greatly unsettling fellow billionaire Femi Otedola.
The shares Otudeko purchased at N19 per unit represented the largest volume of First Bank shares traded in a single day since 2012 when stock exchange data started being published, as reported by Arise News. This development was met with skepticism from shareholders, who doubted the legitimacy of the trades and ignited a fierce battle between Otedola and Otudeko, reminiscent of World War II.
Despite Femi Otedola being appointed as a director during a recent Annual General Meeting, which is still the subject of legal disputes, his ongoing conflict with Otudeko continues to negatively impact innocent First Bank shareholders. They have been witnessing mounting losses, exacerbated by the recent collapse of FBN shares in the stock market.
According to ENigeria Newspaper, FBN Holdings’ performance in the stock market has been disappointing, with the company’s share price dropping from N21.5 kobo to N19.80 kobo per share. Furthermore, the total market valuation of FBN Holdings has declined from N771.74 billion to N710.72 billion in just a few months.
Recent data highlights the continued damage caused by the feud between Otedola and Otudeko, as First Bank Shares have plummeted further, resulting in shareholders losing over N80.76 billion. The share price of First Bank dropped from N18.80 on August 18 to N16.55 on August 25, translating to a loss of N2.25 for each share held.
For instance, on Monday, August 21, FBNH shares opened at N18.80 with a market capitalization of N674.83 billion but fell to N16.55 per share, leading to a decline in market capitalization to N594.1 billion. This downturn resulted in a staggering loss of N80.76 billion, making FBNH shareholders the 6th largest losers in terms of percentage drop in share prices during the review period.
It’s worth noting that the bank faced its first setback following Otedola’s election on August 15 at the company’s AGM, despite an interim injunction attempting to block the meeting. Otudeko currently holds the majority of shares as an individual in FBNH, with 13.3 percent of the company’s issued share capital of 35,895,292,791, while Otedola holds the second-largest stake at 7.57 percent. Meanwhile, in the first half of 2023, FBNH reported a profit after tax of N187.2 billion and interest income of N383.28 billion.