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Otedola regains position as First Bank’s majority shareholder, increases stake to 9.41%

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Nigerian billionaire, Femi Otedola, the Chairman of FBN Holdings has regained his position as the majority shareholder of First Bank.

He now holds a 9.41% stake in the bank, after acquiring N18.9 billion worth of the group’s shares in the NGX today, June 20.

This is according to a corporate notice filed by the financial institution on the website of the NGX.

According to a filing seen by Nairametrics, Otedola directly acquired 316,506,776 shares at a share price of N21.91 each, amounting to N6.935 billion.  

He then acquired 546,674,034 shares at N21.97 each, amounting to N12.01 billion, through his holding company, Calvados Global Services Limited.  

Otedola previously held a 7.01% stake in the bank, behind Oba Otudeko’s Barbican Capital Limited which holds an 8.67% stake.  

Thus, by acquiring an additional 863,180,810 shares, he has added 2.40% to his previous stake, thus increasing his total stake in the group to 9.41%.

The pursuit of a majority stake in FBN Holdings has been a dynamic journey, beginning in October 2021 when Femi Otedola first announced that he had secured a 5.07% shareholding. Following this, in December 2021, Otedola increased his stake further to 7.57%, marking a significant leap.

By mid-2022, Otedola reduced his stake to 5.24%, divesting approximately 30% of his shareholding in the group. However, by July 2023, Oba Otudeko reemerged on the scene through his company, Barbican Capital Limited, declaring a 13.3% stake in FBN Holdings.

At the end of the financial year, the company confirmed in its audited accounts that Barbican held an 8.67% stake, a figure also verified by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Despite Otedola assuming the role of Chairman of FBN Holdings in January 2024, there were still considerations regarding Otudeko’s potential influence within the company. Otedola’s declaration now makes him the majority shareholder, and as Chairman, the billionaire appears to have taken full control.

Femi Otedola, who rejoined the Forbes Billionaires List this year, now holds the majority shareholding in two major Nigerian companies, FBN Holdings and Geregu Power Plc. He holds the second-largest individual shareholding in any publicly listed bank in Nigeria, surpassed only by Jim Ovia’s 11.29% stake in Zenith Bank.

Otedola’s acquisition accounted for 99% of FBN Holdings’ turnover volume of 871.084 million shares on the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) today.

FBN Holding’s share price closed at N21.9 at the close of trading down 0.45%.

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Nigerians can now obtain UAE visas, says FG

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Mohammed Idris, minister of information and national orientation, says Nigerians can now apply for and obtain visas to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Idris said the federal government has reached an agreement with the UAE to allow Nigerian passport holders to obtain visas for travel to the Arab nation starting today, July 15.

The minister spoke with the State House correspondents in Abuja on Monday, shortly after the weekly federal executive council (FEC) meeting.

He said the agreement includes updated controls and conditions to be fulfilled before the issuance of a UAE visa.

On December 13, 2021, the UAE issued a travel restriction on passengers from Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, citing a surge in the countries’ COVID-19 cases among passengers from the two African nations.

However, TheCable reported the travel ban might not be unconnected with the diplomatic row between Nigeria and the UAE over Air Peace’s flight frequency to the Arab country.

Air Peace had requested a slot of three weekly flights from Nigeria to Sharjah Airport in the UAE, but only one was granted by the country’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).

GCAA said Air Peace should not expect to retain its flight frequency after pulling out of Sharjah Airport; the Nigerian airline, however, denied the claim.

In retaliation for Air Peace’s treatment in the UAE, the federal government dropped Emirate’s slots from 21 to one, leading to the Dubai-based airline suspending all its flights to Nigeria.

In September 2023, the federal government said the airline would resume services in Nigeria, signaling a resolution of the dispute.

The assurance followed a meeting between President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Mohamed bin Zayed, president of the United Arab Emirates.

But since the meeting and the federal government’s announcement, Emirates has yet to begin scheduled flight operations.

In April, Festus Keyamo, minister of aviation and aerospace development, said Emirates Airlines is prepared to resume flight operations to Nigeria.

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Lagos state government designates 5 operational parks for trucks in Lekki-Epe corridor ahead of e-call up system launch

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The Lagos State Government has designated five operational parks for trucks in the Lekki-Epe corridor in anticipation of the e-call-up system’s launch on August 1, 2024.

This strategic initiative aims to regulate truck movements and prevent the traffic congestion previously seen at Apapa and Tin Can Ports.

According to Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation Oluwaseun Osiyemi, the designated parks for articulated trucks in the Lekki-Epe corridor are Hog Marketing Limited in Okorisan, Epe; Nilmage Two4Seven in Poka, Epe; Goldspeed Freight Agency Ltd. opposite Dangote Refinery on Lekki Coastal Road; Diamond Star Ports and Terminal Ltd. in Abule Panu, Lekki-Epe; and Tal Concept Ltd. at HFP Brick Industry on Lekki-Epe Expressway.

“Five operational parks for trucks: Hog Marketing Limited (Okorisan, Epe), Nilmage two4seven (Poka, Epe), Goldspeed Freight Agency Ltd (Opp. Dangote Refinery, Lekki Coastal Road), Diamond Star Ports and Terminal Ltd. (Abule Panu, Lekki-Epe), Tal Concept Ltd (HFP Brick Industry, Lekki-Epe Expressway),” the statement read in part.

Furthermore, the Lagos State Government has mandated that all articulated trucks operating in the corridor must be equipped with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags. This requirement aims to streamline and automate the management and tracking of truck movements once the system goes live next month.

Additional initiatives in the implementation plan include the separation of wet and dry cargo and the deployment of vehicle inspection services at parks for vehicle certification.

These measures are designed to eliminate traffic congestion, address environmental concerns, and reduce accidents caused by trucks along the corridor. They will also help manage the increased activity expected from the Dangote Refinery, Lekki Port, and other entities.

The Lagos State Government provided additional details on the e-call up system, clarifying that it will officially launch on August 1, 2024, through the platform mycallup.com, with full enforcement beginning on August 7, 2024.

Compliance with this system is mandatory, and trucks that fail to comply will be impounded to ensure strict adherence to the new regulations.

The government emphasized the necessity of cooperation from all stakeholders for the success of this initiative. This includes truckers, organizations, security agents, and local communities, all of whom must work together to prevent a recurrence of the severe traffic congestion and logistical issues previously experienced at Apapa and Tin Can Ports.

The active participation and commitment of these groups will be instrumental in ensuring a smoother and more efficient transportation process along the Lekki-Epe corridor.

The state government emphasizes that by adhering to these regulations and fully cooperating, stakeholders can contribute to a more organized, safer, and environmentally friendly transport environment in Lagos.

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Nigeria’s inflation rate increases to 34.19% amid rising food prices

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Nigeria’s inflation rate rose to 34.19 percent in June 2024 — up from 33.95 percent in May.

The data is captured in the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its consumer price index (CPI) report for June, released on Monday.

The CPI measures the rate of change in prices of goods and services.

According to the bureau, food inflation also surged to 40.87 percent in the month under review as prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages continued to surge.

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