Strategic Investor Reportedly Purchase Controlling Stake in Nigerian Lender Wema Bank

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Strong indications emerged yesterday that a strategic investor assumed to be Adebutu Kensington, is taking controlling stake of Wema Bank Plc, given the quantum of transactions executed on its shares on Monday and Tuesday.

Specifically, at the close of trading on Monday, June 17, transactions in the shares of Wema Bank topped the activity chart with 2.7 billion shares valued at N1.71 billion, Guardian reported yesterday.

This volume of shares traded by the bank lifted total volume, as turnover rose 1,867.26 per cent to 2.86 billion units, valued at N3.92 billion, exchanged in 3,360 deals.

Also, similar massive transactions were recorded in the shares of the bank on Tuesday, June 18, which traded 2.4 billion shares valued at N1.48 billion, resulting to 1.65 per cent rise in turnover to 2.91 billion units, valued at N11.225 billion, exchanged in 3,324 deals.

The share price of Wema Bank, which stood at 0.60kobo at the close of trading last week Friday, rose to 0.63kobo on Wednesday, adding 0.03 gain.

A stockbroker familiar with the transaction executed on Monday and Tuesday told The Guardian that such a big-ticket transaction in Wema Bank shares is a strong indication that a strong strategic investor is taking controlling ownership of the bank.

He said: “There were large volumes on Wema shares transaction on Monday and Tuesday. A strategic investor suspected to be Adebutu Kensington is taking controlling ownership of Wema Bank.”

In his reaction to the development, the President, New Dimension Shareholders Association, Patrick Ajudua, said whatever it will take to make the bank more competitive is a welcome development.

“Whatever it will take to reposition the bank in order to compete with its peers is a welcome development for minority shareholder. You will recall that there is a movement in trading of the bank shares in last three days, which is an indication of possible boardroom changes. Also, it is just recently that the bank is able to declare dividend after 14 years. So I welcome the new development.”

Also, the President, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Boniface Okezie, said: “If the man has the capacity to run the place as a core investor he is welcome on board, but I must also warn that the management must be allowed to operate with free hands with less interference.”

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