How First Bank attracts high net worth investors, strengthens foothold

By Dele Ojo

Late October this year, Mr. Femi Otedola, Chairman of GereguPower Plc., became the latest high net worth investor to join the clique of major shareholders of the Century2+ brand, the First Bank Nigeria by acquiring substantial amount of the bank’s issued shares at The Nigerian Exchange Limited.

Notifying The Nigerian Exchange and the investing public on the buying-in, Seye Kosoko, Company Secretary, FBN Holdings Plc., the parent company of First Bank Nigeria said,We refer to our communication to the market dated October 22, 2021 on the above subject wherein we stated that we would inform the public of any substantial acquisition, upon receipt of notification from the Shareholder.

“This morning, October 23, 2021, FBN Holdings Plc received a notification from APT Securities and Funds Limited, that their Client, Mr. Otedola Olufemi Peter and his nominee, Calvados Global Services Limited have acquired a total of 1,818,551,625 units of shares from the Company’s issued share capital of 35,895,292,791. Based on the foregoing, the equity stake of Mr. Otedola Olufemi Peter and his nominee in the Company is now 5.07%”.

Through the acquisition, Otedola, formally became one of the majority shareholders in the bank, following the likes of chairman of Globacom, Chief Mike Adenuga; current Chairman of FBNH, Mr. Tunde Hassan-Odukale, and Chairman of Honeywell Group, Oba Otudeko.

Femi Otedola  is a Nigerian businessman, and former chairman of Forte Oil Plc, an importer of fuel products. He is the founder of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd, and the owner of a number of other businesses across shipping, real estate and finance. He has recently invested in power generation as part of the liberalisation of the sector in Nigeria.

Established in 1894, First Bank of Nigeria Limited is the premier Bank in West Africa, Nigeria’s number one bank brand and the leading financial services solutions provider in the country. It was founded by Sir Alfred Jones, a shipping magnate from Liverpool, England. With its head office originally in Liverpool, the Bank commenced business on a modest scale in Lagos, Nigeria under the name, Bank of British West Africa (BBWA)

After changing the names severally, changes in the name of the Bank also occurred in 1979 and 1991 to First Bank of Nigeria Limited and First Bank of Nigeria Plc, respectively. In 2012, the Bank changed its name again to FirstBank of Nigeria Limited as part of a restructuring resulting in FBN Holdings Plc having detached its commercial business from other businesses in the FirstBank Group, in compliance with the new regulation by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The bank had 1.3 million shareholders globally, and was quoted on The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), where it was one of the most capitalised companies and also had an unlisted Global Depository Receipt (GDR) programme, all of which were transferred to its Holding Company, FBN Holdings, in December 2012.

The Company has six direct subsidiaries, namely: First Bank of Nigeria Limited, FBNQuest Merchant Bank Limited, FBNQuestCapital Limited, FBNQuest Trustees Limited, FBN Insurance Brokers Limited, Rainbow Town Development Limited; and indirect subsidiaries, namely: FBNBank (UK) Limited, FBNBank DR Congo Limited, FBNBank Ghana Limited, FBNBank Sierra Leone Limited, FBNBank Guinea Limited, FBNBank Gambia Limited, FBNBank Senegal Limited, First Pension Custodian Nigeria Limited, FBNQuest Asset Management Limited, FBNQuest Securities Limited, and FBNQuest Funds Limited.

With over 127 years of uninterrupted operations, FirstBank’soutstanding services have attracted innumerable recognitions and awards.

The Bank was first listed on The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in March 1971 and won the NSE’s Annual President’s Merit Award for the best financial report in the banking industry a record thirteen times. This subsisting feat received an additional impetus when the Bank in 2011 was bestowed with the “Best Financial Reporting Company” award by Africa Investor, one of Africa’s most respected multimedia investment news and information publishers.

In the same period, FirstBank was named the “Most Innovative Bank in Africa” by African Banker Awards. This highly coveted award goes to the African bank that has demonstrated original and practical uses of technology to provide customer convenience, better and cheaper services, and greater access to the financial services industry in Africa.

The award, represents a global recognition of the giant strides the Bank made over the years in deploying technology to power its operations and services and ultimately making banking services more convenient, accessible and faster. These are major feats in the Bank’s customer-oriented and innovative financial services that confirm the Bank’s interest in promoting its customers’ lifestyles and businesses.

FirstBank has been the back-to-back winner of the “Best Bank in Nigeria” for twelve (12) years, “Best Trade Finance Bank in Nigeria”, and “Best Foreign Exchange Bank in Nigeria” for seven (7) consecutive years – all awarded by the US-based Global Finance magazine. The Bank has also been the winner of the “Best Bank in Nigeria” awarded by the EMEA Finance magazine for four (4) consecutive years.

FirstBank  also won the “Best Banking Group in Nigeria”, awarded by World Finance Banking Awards, the “Best Investment Bank” the “Best Private Bank” awarded by the same institution, the latter which the Bank has received five times. FirstBank received the “ICT Telecoms Deal of the Year Award” awarded by the Ai CEO Infrastructure Awards 2012, a recognition of the Bank’s role in the EMTS (Etisalat) US$650Million Syndicated Term Loan, 2011 and was named “The Bank of the Year in Nigeria” in The Banker Awards 2012.

For six consecutive years, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 (as announced in February 2017), the Bank has been named “Nigeria’s Number One Banking Brand” by Brand Finance Top 500 Banking Brands and “Best Retail Bank in Nigeria”, 2011, 2012 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 by the Asian Banker International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards. Also, in 2013,

FirstBank was awarded the “Best Bank in Nigeria” in the Euromoney Awards for Excellence, “Best Bank in West Africa” in the African Banker Awards, and Best Foreign Exchange Services in Africa in the EMEA Finance Treasury Services Awards.

The Banker Magazine named FirstBank as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria. It also won the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and again for 2016 (as announced in February 2017). Also, for six consecutive times, FirstBank won the Best Retail Bank by The Asian Banker International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards, the most recognised international awards programme in the Retail Financial Services Industry.


Other awards won by the Bank include the Best Bank in Nigeria (an award which the bank has won twelve times), by Global Finance; Best Banking Brand and Best Banking Performer, both by Global Brands Awards.

Since launching in 1894, FirstBank has established itself as a brand of strength and dynamism, with the vision to be the leading international banking group in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The half year financial result of the bank for 2021, gross earning stood at 291.2 billion, in relation to 296.4bn in 2020, and profit after tax was 38.1bn in 2021 as against 35.6bn in 2020. However, total assets was 8.023.6trn in firsthalf of 2021, in comparison with 7.689trn H1 2020, while customer deposits rose from 4.894.7trn in H1 2020 to 5.078trn H1 2021

As at the close of trading on Friday, October 29, FBN Holdings Plc (FBNH) closed its last trading day at N11.05 per share on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NGX), recording a 5.2% drop from its previous closing price of N11.65 and the volume traded was 57 million as against 163 million unit of shares of FBNH traded the previous day. FBN began the year with a share price of N7.15 and has since gained 62.9% on that price valuation, ranking it 18th on the NGX in terms of year-to-date performance.

The Bank has produced about three governors of the Central Bank of Nigeria: Dr. Paul Ogwuma, Mr. Oladele Sanusi, and Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, and erstwhile Emir of Kano,  while the current chairman of FBN Holdings, Mr. Remi Babalola was a previous Minister of State, Finance and supervising Minister for Federal Capital Territory.

Meanwhile, the bank would substantially benefit from having to do more businesses with the associated companies of the new investor and thus increase profitability.


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