Atlas Mara Limited, the sub-Sahara African financial services group controlled by Bob Diamond, the former Barclays Bank top rated investment banker and chief executive, has announced further acquisition of shares in Nigerian lender, Union Bank, in what many analysts are beginning to interprete as a steady climb towards taking a controling stake in the bank.
The new acquisition represents one percent but brings its holding in the bank to 49 percent and signposts Atlas Mara’s intent to maintain its presence in Nigeria and perhaps, also a bigger plan for the Nigerian economy, say analysts covering the banking industry.
The financial services company said it was pleased “that it has agreed to acquire an additional 280,956,166 shares of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, approximately a 1.0% shareholding in UBN, following which its combined direct and indirect shareholding in UBN will increase to 49.0% from 48.0%. The company will issue 2,360,032 ordinary shares as consideration for the UBN shares acquired,” it said in a statement.
It also said it had made applications for the new shares to be admitted to the official list of the UK Listing Authority and to trading on the London Stock Exchange, noting that “admission is expected to become effective, and dealings in the new shares are expected to commence, at 8:00 am BST on 27 June 2018.”
The new shares are expected to rank pari passu with the existing ordinary shares.
“Following 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 1 July 2016. Atlas Mara hereby confirms 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,” the statement concluded.