By Dipo Olowookere
Last Friday, after the stock market had closed for the week, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) came with a big announcement which sent shivers down the spine of investors.
Governor of the CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, said at a media briefing that one of the financial institutions trading its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Skye Bank Plc, had been liquidated with its assets and liabilities transferred to a bridge bank called Polaris Bank Limited.
The news came as a huge shock to observers, shareholders of the bank as well as investing public, who mostly did not see this coming.
Few months ago, the apex bank had extended the tenure of the interim management it appointed for the lender in 2016 when it took over Skye Bank. The CBN had said it extended the tenure of the new management because it was impressed with the performance of the new handlers.
Even Skye Bank, which confirmed this in a statement in July 2018, had said it was working tirelessly with the CBN to conclude various resolution initiatives to achieve a positive turn around for the bank.
“We wish to assure the bank’s shareholders and all stakeholders of the commitment of its board and management, working with the CBN and other regulators, to conclude various resolution initiatives to achieve a positive turn around for the bank and deliver value to its stakeholders,” the statement signed by Skye Bank’s Secretary/General Counsel, Mr Babatunde Osibodu, had stated.
Last month, the lender also released another statement had assured its shareholders that, “As with the Bank’s Audited Financial Statements for previous financial years (2016 and 2017), the Unaudited Financial Statements for the period ended June 30, 2018 shall be published as soon as the CBN grants its approval.”
“We wish to assure all our stakeholders that the bank remains committed to transparency, full disclosure, and compliance with regulatory requirements,” it had further assured.
But since last Friday’s announcement, many investors have been talking about how Skye Bank got itself into a mess, while some shareholders have been licking their wounds with their tails between their legs.
Already, the NSE has announced suspending trading on the shares of Skye Bank on its platform beginning from Monday, September 24, 2018 (today).
As the market resume today, analysts at Business Post are forecasting that investors will brutally whip banking stocks this week because of the Skye Bank issue.
Few of those that may be fatally wounded include Diamond Bank and Unity Bank, while others may not be spared too from the onslaught.
Last week, Unity Bank and Skye Bank were among the best performing stocks, gaining 17.70 percent and 15.50 percent respectively.
Before Skye Bank collapsed, it was recording a steady growth, which some investors misinterpreted to be something good cooking. However, they got their fingers burnt.
With this in mind, Unity Bank, which has been gathering momentum lately, may likely be viewed by investors in the same light with the defunct Skye Bank, resulting into selloffs.
It is important to note that Unity Bank is yet to release its financial statements for the year 2017 as well as for two already used quarters of this year.
We believe that as the market resumes today, the banking stocks are in for a big trouble with selloffs expected in the sector.
However, analysts at Cowry Asset believe that the NSE index will close positive at the end of the week “as we expect both domestic institutional and retail investors to take advantage of the fallen prices.
“More so, we maintain that investors should hunt for companies with potentially high dividend yields and have recorded increased earnings as at H1 2018.”
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