Key questions this article answers: 

  1. First Bank of Nigeria HoldCo’s (FBNH) share price has skyrocketed recently due to renewed interest in the bank from billionaire investors Femi Otedola and Oba Otudeko. Why is this? 

  2. Following a long and painful cleanup process, FBNH’s finances have recovered. How has Nigeria’s oldest bank gone about this, and what does the bank have to show for it?

The tussle for power on the NGX is fascinating as it spotlights wealth-creating opportunities in companies that the public has long ignored. We saw this in April when Nigerian businessman and billionaire Femi Otedola (F.Ote$) sought to buy up controlling shares in Transcorp Plc, owned by fellow businessman and billionaire Tony Elumelu.

The result was an over 1x rise in Transcorp’s shares from ₦1.40 to ₦3.1 in under two weeks, as Otedola’s interest in the dormant conglomerate sparked buying interests in the public. However, as business concluded between the two moguls, Transcorp’s share price fell back to ₦1.8 within another two weeks, leaving retail investors licking their wounds (although temporarily).

Recently, F.Ote$ has been in the news again for the battle of Nigeria’s oldest bank–First Bank of Nigeria Holdings (FBNH), with Oba Otudeko (the bank’s former and longest-serving Chairman).

The battle began on Thursday, 6th of July 2023, with Oba Otudeko acquiring over 4.7 billion shares worth ₦87.8 billion via Barbican Capital Limited, an affiliate of the Otudeko-owned Honeywell Group. This move saw him emerge as the single largest shareholder (15% of total shares), overtaking F.Ote$ (with 9%), who has held the title since at least December 2021.

Alongside the positive spillover effects from recent foreign exchange reforms that have sparked renewed interest in banking stocks; this move—the single largest transaction on the NGX in 2023, has also contributed to the 28% rise