Nigeria’s Union Bank Seeks Shareholders’ Nod To Sell UK Arm

Shareholders of Union Bank of Nigeria will on Tuesday, March 29, 2022, gather for an extra-ordinary general meeting wherein the director will propose as part of a special resolution, the divestment of its entire shareholding (direct and indirect) interest in its subsidiary, Union Bank UK Plc, established in 1983.

Ownership of such shares, subject to approval at the EGM, be transferred to all existing shareholders of Union Bank of Nigeria as of March 4, 2022, “pro rata to their existing shareholding interests… subject to obtaining any required contractual consents and/or regulatory approvals.”

Consequently, the register of members and transfer books of the company, according to a filing by Somuyiwa Adedeji Sonubi, the company secretary, Union Bank on Tuesday morning, “shall be closed from 7th March 2022 to 11th March 2022 (both days inclusive) for the purpose of updating the Register of members.”

The meeting is also expected to “approve that in furtherance of the Divestment, the shares to be held in UBUK by shareholders of the company who each hold less than 0.2546% of the Company’s issued share capital, shall be placed under a trust to be established with Stanbic IBTC Trustees Limited (SITL), which shall be the legal shareholder of record in UBUK’s register, acting as trustee of the beneficial interests of the relevant UBN shareholders.”

News broke in December that little-known Titan Trust Bank (TTB) had sealed a deal to acquire a majority 89.39% stake of Union Global Partners, the parent company, in UBN, the country’s second-oldest bank founded in 1917. This is touted as one of the biggest merger and acquisition transactions in Nigeria, sending shock waves across Nigeria’s entire financial landscape.

In July last year, Adaeze Udensi, former Executive Director at Zenith Bank and Heritage Bank, now at Titan Bank told The Africa Report in July last year that Titan Bank was “looking at opportunities to scale up”, which may include making acquisitions, going public or selling a Eurobond.

“Everything is on the table,” she said, as Titan Trust plans to expand its branch network with about 10 new branches in the next six to 12 months, she says, with new branches in Abuja and Apapa close to being ready.

This may no longer be necessary, given Union Bank’s haul of 239 branches and about 1,000 cash points across the length and breadth of Nigeria.