By Aduragbemi Omiyale
There are reports that a billionaire businessman, Mr Femi Otedola, is coming back into the capital market on a big scale a few years after he offloaded his stake in Forte Oil , 75 per cent , which later became Ardova Plc under its new owners.
It is believed that business mogul has pounced on the crisis at FBN Holdings Plc , the parent company of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, which also recently had a board crisis, to take over the company. According to reports, which is yet to be independently verified by Business Post , Mr Otedola, son of a late Governor of Lagos State, Sir Michael Otedola, is now the single majority shareholder of the first generation lender in Nigeria.
He is said to have acquired N30 billion worth of the company’s equities at the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, where the firm is listed.
In recent times, there has been an upward movement in the share price of FBN Holdings at the stock market and this has raised many eyebrows as some investors were asking what was driving the hike.
Mr Otedola is not new to the boardroom and it is believed that his entry into the banking space would cause a disruption and make him rub shoulders with renowned bankers like Mr Jim Ovia of Zenith Bank Plc, Tony Elumelu of United Bank for Africa (UBA), amongst others.
Some months ago, many observers were shocked when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) sacked the boards of FBN Holdings and First Bank of Nigeria Limited and it was learnt that the financial institution has been on the life-support of the regulator.
The FBN Holdings board led by businessman, Mr Oba Otudeko was asked to leave and the CBN further ordered the bank to ensure that the debts owed by the directors, including Mr Otudeko, who sits on the board of Honeywell Flour Mills Plc, should be recovered.
A few months after this directive, shares of FBN Holdings and Honeywell have enjoyed a significant rise in value, causing people to ask questions.
If the latest information is correct, it would mean that Mr Otedola was likely the reason for the uptick witnessed in First Bank stocks at the exchange lately.
It means he will have a good representation on the board of the lender and turn its fortunes around.First Bank is yet to officially inform the investing public about this development.