Diamond Bank Announces Merger With Access Bank

 

The Board of Diamond Bank PLC has announced plans to merge its operations with Access Bank.

The bank disclosed this in a statement on Monday by the company’s Secretary and Legal Adviser, Uzoma Uja.

According to Diamond Bank, the decision follows a strategic review leading to a competitive process, as the preferred bidder with respect to a potential merger of the two banks (“the merger”) that will create Nigeria and Africa’s largest retail bank by customers.

“The Board of Diamond Bank believes that the merger is in the best interest of all stakeholders including, employees, customers, depositors and shareholders”.

Read Full Statement Below

Statement Regarding Scheme To Merge With Access Bank

The Board of Diamond Bank Plc (“Diamond Bank”) today announces that following a strategic review leading to a competitive process, the Board has selected Access Bank Plc (“Access Bank”) as the preferred bidder with respect to a potential merger of the two banks (“the merger”) that will create Nigeria and Africa’s largest retail bank by customers.

The Board of Diamond Bank believes that the merger is in the best interest of all stakeholders including, employees, customers, depositors and shareholders and has agreed to recommend the offer to Diamond Bank’s shareholders. Completion of the merger is subject to certain shareholder and regulatory approvals.

The proposed merger would involve Access Bank acquiring the entire issued share capital of Diamond Bank in exchange for a combination of cash and shares in Access Bank via a Scheme of Merger. Based on the agreement reached by the Boards of the two financial institutions, Diamond Bank shareholders will receive a consideration of N3.13 per share, comprising of N1.00 per share in cash and the allotment of two (2) New Access Bank ordinary shares for every seven (7) Diamond Bank ordinary shares held as at the Implementation Date. The offer represents a premium of 260% to the closing market price of N0.87 per share of Diamond Bank on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (“NSE”) as of December 13, 2018, the date of the final binding offer.

Immediately following completion of the merger, Diamond Bank would be absorbed into Access Bank and it will cease to exist under Nigerian law. The current listing of Diamond Bank’s shares on the NSE and the listing of Diamond Bank’s global depositary receipts on the London Stock Exchange will be cancelled, upon the merger becoming effective.

Diamond Bank expects the transaction to be completed in the first half of 2019.

We will keep the market updated with any new development.

Yours faithfully, For: DIAMOND BANK PLC

Uzoma Uja Company Secretary/Legal Adviser

Absence of EFCC Counsel Stalls Trial Of Jonathan’s Aide

Judges, Court, Judges, Court, Absence of EFCC Counsel Stalls Trial Of Jonathan's AideThe trial of Waripamo-Owei Emmanuel Dudafa, the former Special Assistant on Domestic Affairs to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, could not go on Tuesday at the Federal High Court in Lagos, owing to the absence of the EFCC’s counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo.

Presiding judge, Justice Muhammad Idris, told the court that he received a letter from the EFCC counsel seeking for an adjournment.

In the letter, Mr Oyedepo asked the court to grant the adjournment to enable him attend to an appeal filed by Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Ricky Tarfa against the commission

Counsel to Mr Dudafa, Gboyega Oyewole, did not object to the request for an adjournment. He however informed the court that he was surprised that his client was not present in court.

Upon enquiry from the prison’s officials, Mr Oyewole said he was told that Dudafa is seriously sick.

He complained about the EFCC treatment of his client.

Justice Mohammed Idris has granted the prosecutor’s application and adjourned the matter till Thursday November 10, for the continuation of the defendants’ trial.

Dudafa and one Iwejuo Joseph Nna, are standing trial before Justice Mohammed Idris on alleged 5.1 billion naira fraud.

In the first count, the defendants on or about June 11, 2013 in Lagos allegedly conspired amongst themselves to conceal the sum of 1.667 billion Naira said to be the proceeds of crime.

The Offence was said to be contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 17(a) of the same Act.

In the other charges, Mr Waripamo-Owei also allegedly used six companies – Seagate Property Development and Investment Limited, Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited, Ebiwise Resources, Pluto Property and Investment Company, Rotato Interlink Services and De Jakes Fast Food and Restaurant Nigeria Limited  – to conceal varying sums of money between June 2013 and April 2016.

The EFCC’s Prosecuting Counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, had listed 21 witnesses to testify against the defendants, including Representatives of some banks.

Diamond Bank, FCMB To Raise New Capital

Diamond Bank, FCMBDiamond Bank is considering raising fresh capital and selling some assets in order to maintain its capital ratios.

The bank’s management says the capital plan will ensure it meets all regulatory requirements both in the short term and in the future.

Diamond Bank’s capital adequacy ratio had fallen to 15.6 percent of assets by mid-year from 18.6 percent a year ago.

According to Reuters, the bank’s chief executive, Uzoma Dozie, told an analysts’ conference call, “We are doing a capital management plan and that will determine how much capital we want to raise, tenor and size.

“We don’t have any need to grow our branch network any more. We are also looking at some assets that we can dispose of and we are a long way into that.”

Meanwhile, mid-tier bank FCMB plans to raise 10 to 15 billion naira of Tier II capital to boost its balance sheet and will target its retail investors for the offering.

FCMB’s capital adequacy ratio was close to the regulatory limit of 15 percent of assets at mid-year, and the bank’s management say the capital raising is to provide an additional cushion.

FCMB CEO, Mr Ladi Balogun, said, “For the Tier II we would be looking at anywhere in the range of 10 to 15 billion naira. It’s really going to be targeted at retail because we feel that the rates from institutions will be high.”

EFCC Charges Jonathan’s Aide, Waripamo-Owei

EFCC, Dudafa Waripamo-Owei, Goodluck JonathanThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has filed a 23-count charge against the Senior Special Assistant on Domestic Affairs to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Dudafa Waripamo-Owei.

Channels Television’s judiciary correspondent, Shola Soyele, who obtained a copy of the charge, said that Mr Waripamo-Owei was charged alongside one Iwejuo Joseph Nna, also known at various times as Taiwo Ebenezer and Olugbenga Isaiah.

In the first count, the defendants on or about June 11, 2013 in Lagos allegedly conspired amongst themselves to conceal the sum of 1.667 billion Naira said to be the proceeds of crime.

The Offence was said to be contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 17(a) of the same Act.

In the other charges, Mr Waripamo-Owei also allegedly used six companies – Seagate Property Development and Investment Limited, Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited, Ebiwise Resources, Pluto Property and Investment Company, Rotato Interlink Services and De Jakes Fast Food and Restaurant Nigeria Limited  – to conceal varying sums of money between June 2013 and April 2016.

The EFCC’s Prosecuting Counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, had listed 21 witnesses to testify against the defendants, including Representatives of some banks.

The accused have been scheduled for arraignment on Wednesday before Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital.

Abike Dabiri, Diamond Bank To Settle Out Of Court

Diamond BankA former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa and Diamond Bank have opted for an out of court settlement in the suit she instituted against the bank.

Mrs Dabiri-Erewa, had on August 6, 2015, filed a 500 million Naira suit ‎against the bank for publishing her name among the list of chronic debtors who have refused to liquidate their debts.

In the alleged malicious publication by Punch, the former lawmaker is said to be owing the bank about N122m.

Diamond Bank had published her picture as a Director of Thriller Endeavors, which she claims she has never heard of.

Mrs Dabiri-Erewa insists that the publication is false and it has subjected her to public ridicule and embarrassment.

In a suit filed before a Lagos High Court, sitting in Igbosere, Lagos Island, she also listed the Punch Newspapers Limited as the second defendant.

When the matter came up for hearing on Thursday before Justice Abdulfattah‎ Lawal, the counsel to Diamond Bank, Chuka Agbu SAN, told the court of the moves to settle the matter out of court.

He then urged the court to adjourn the matter to enable the parties conclude discussions on the process.

Outside the court, Counsel representing Punch Newspapers, Mr Clement Onwuenwunor, said that the paper is not part of the settlement talks as it has indemnity from the bank for its publication.

Counsel representing Mrs Dabiri-Erewa, Ademola Fadipe is however optimistic that the settlement talks will be agreeable to all parties.

Justice Lawal has adjourned the matter till March 10, for a report of the settlement.

 

Abike Dabiri Sues Diamond Bank, Punch Newspapers For Libel

Abike-dabiriA former member of the House of Representatives, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, on Thursday filed a libel suit against Diamond bank and The Punch Newspapers.

Mrs Dabiri-Erewa told the Lagos State High Court, Igbosere that the bank and the newspaper wrongfully accused her of owing N122 million.

Diamond Bank on August 4, had published her picture as a Director of Thriller Endeavors, which she claims she has never heard off.

Mrs Dabiri-Erewa is praying the court to compel the bank to publicly apologize and also pay damages running to N500 million.

“It cost me irreparable damage, it has totally embarassed me, i found it very very shocking and i just feel that the best thing to do is to seek legal redress in court.

“My lawyers are demanding for N500 million compensation from Diamond Bank and from The Punch Newspaper for doing that,” She said.

EFCC Arrests Impersonator of Okonjo-Iweala’s Secretary

EFCCA suspected fraudster that impersonated Barrister Wilson Amarachi, Secretary to Minister of Finance and Co-ordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has been arrested by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

John Nze Madu was arrested at Diamond Bank, Ojodu branch, Lagos, where he went to make withdrawals with an ATM card.

Investigation showed that Madu defrauded a Chinese national, Wu Qingzhu, of the sum of Five Thousand, Three Hundred and Eighty American Dollars ($5,380) when he allegedly posed as Barrister Wilson Amarachi and deceived the Chinese into believing that he had outstanding payments to collect for contracts executed for the Nigerian Government.

This, he achieved by presenting the Chinese with fake documents from high ranking Nigerian officials. He allegedly used different email addresses, two documents purportedly from Daily Sun Newspaper, an official gazette purportedly signed by President Goodluck Jonathan and Senate President, David Mark and an international passport data page purportedly belonging to Amarachi.

Madu contacted Qingzhu through an online message, informing him that he was expected to open a non-residence account in Nigeria and make payment of $300 (Three Hundred United States Dollars). Qingzhu complied and made two other payments: $1,430 (One Thousand Four Hundred and Thirty United States Dollars) and $3,650 (Three Thousand Six Hundred and Fifty United States Dollars), through Western Union.

Madu was arrested at the bank premises where he went to withdraw proceeds of his fraudulent activities.

He would be charged to court after investigations are concluded, according to the EFCC.

CBN Explains Rationale Behind ‘Too Big To Fail’ Banks

Speaking on the CBN’s motive for designating 8 commercial banks as ‘too big to fail,’ the Director, Banking Supervision of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mrs. Agnes Tokunbo-Martins said the named banks are systemically important to the economy as their failure could have far reaching effect on Nigeria’s financial stability.

The implications of the designation for the banks is that banks are permitted to have 50% off their capital as subordinated debts or loans but if considered systemically important, they are required to have a capital that is 75% common equity.

This is because common equity is considered to be higher loss absorbency.

In terms of liquidity: “you’d have to have about 5% above the regulatory minimum which is 30%. She added that the average banks have about 50%, so their pronouncement does not place extra burdens on the said banks.

The MD of Cowry Assets Management Limited, Johnson Chukwu, avers that there is no bank that is too big to fail but the CBN has only identified banks whose failure could affect the banking system.

“Any bank could fail if they don’t manage their risk asset portfolio very well or if there’s a major fraud,” he said.

The banks named ‘Too Big To Fail’ are First Bank of Nigeria, Guarantee Trust Bank, Skye Bank, Access Bank, Diamond Bank, Zenith Bank, United Bank of Africa and Eco Bank.

Unemployment Is Like Poverty– Pascal Dozie

The Chairmen MTN Communication Pascal Dozie clearly stated that unemployment is a problem in Nigeria.

In looking at the solutions to end the plague of unemployment in Nigeria, Pascal said that “Unemployment is like Poverty and Nigeria has to grow out of it, and the only way to grow out of unemployment is by employment”.

He said Nigeria has to have those opportunities to get people employed and he feels that the SME’s are the best opportunities to create employment.

Watch video for more details.

 

Zenith Bank To List $850 Million Shares On London Stock Exchange

Zenith Bank PLC expects the approval of British authorities for it to list up to $850 million of its shares later this month on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) as global depository receipts, a banker close to the deal said on Tuesday.

The London Stock Exchange said last week it expected an increase in new listings from African companies this year as businesses in the continent’s fast-growing economies seek to attract foreign investors.

Zenith said in October the secondary listing was aimed at improving liquidity in its stock rather than raising capital.

Zenith has all necessary approvals from Nigerian authorities to go ahead with the listing, the banker said, adding that the deal will enable foreigners who prefer to hold dollar assets to invest in the bank.

“Investors can only switch a maximum of $850 million worth of local shares into the GDR programme,” the banker said, adding that the GDR price will be based on the naira exchange rate and the local share price of Zenith Bank.

“Hopefully, it will be listed within two weeks,” the banker said.

Zenith Bank has a primary listing in Nigeria with a market capitalisation of N674.7 billion ($4.3 billion), based on Tuesday’s close of N21.49 per share.

One GDR will represent 50 ordinary shares, the bank said.

JP Morgan is acting as the depository bank, while Citi Bank will act as the custodian.

The LSE is already home to 96 companies whose main operations are in Sub-Saharan Africa, including 23 which have shares listed on its main market.

With this listing, Zenith Bank is expected to join three other Nigerian lenders with GDRs trading in London — Guaranty Trust Bank, Diamond Bank and First Bank.

Zenith Bank appoints JP Morgan to facilitate LSE listing

Zenith Bank has appointed JP Morgan to facilitate a secondary listing of its shares on the London Stock Exchange, the lender said on Wednesday.

Zenith Bank CEO/Managing Director, Godwin Emefiele

The listing is planned to be through a Global Depository Receipt (GDR), a tool used to facilitate investments and trading in the shares of companies from emerging markets.

Zenith said it will seek shareholders’ approval for the listing on Nov. 21 and that one GDR will represent 50 ordinary shares in the local bank.

Zenith already has a primary listing in Nigeria and has a market capitalisation of $3.6 billion.

The deal is subject to regulatory approval, the bank said, adding that it wanted to improve liquidity for its shares with the transaction and not to raise capital.

“Listing on the LSE creates new opportunities for increasing … liquidity in our securities … and diversification of our investor base,” Managing Director of the bank, Godwin Emefiele said in a statement.

Zenith Bank joins the league of four other Nigerian lenders — Guaranty Trust Bank, Diamond Bank, UBA and First Bank — with GDRs trading in London or New York.

Diamond Bank set to buy European bank

Nigeria’s Diamond Bank is in talks to buy a niche European bank to tap into direct investment and trade flows from Europe into Nigeria, its chief executive, Alex Otti said on Tuesday according to Reuters.

Alex Otti also told an investor conference call that the bank expects to make an 18 percent return on equity in 2012 and a pretax profit of up to 30 billion naira ($190 mln), compared with a loss of 16.26 billion naira last year.

He said Diamond had received an approval in principle from Nigeria’s central bank for the acquisition and that it would not need to raise additional capital to complete the deal.

“We are not looking at buying a high street bank. It’s going to be a specialized bank that will complement our services,” he said. He did not disclose the name of the bank.

“We have a lot of business flows in that direction (Europe) and we use third parties to do those … we strongly believe that if we are successful it will add value to the bank,” Otti said.

Otti said Diamond had raised $170 million in debt this year, and was on track to boosting its total debt issued in 2012 to $500 million, including issuing a planned debut Eurobond at the end of the year, to boost capital adequacy to 17 percent.

Around $70 million of the capital already raised had come from the World Bank’s private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation, he said.

The mid-tier lender last week posted a pretax profit in the first nine months of the year to 23.2 billion naira ($148 mln), pushing its shares up 20 percent in two days, compared with a 6.9 billion naira loss in the same period last year.

Its share price has gained 125 percent so far this year.

“We have had to move (our operating profit) target to 55-60 billion naira by year-end. We believe we should be ending the year anywhere between 25 to 30 billion naira pretax profit,” Otti said.

Diamond Bank is aggressively seeking to grow its operations to be able to tap into infrastructure and consumer growth in Africa’s most populous nation. It planned to build extra 130 branches in two years time, to add to its existing 220, he said.