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Atlas Mara Denies Getting Offers to Sell Stake in Union Bank

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Union Bank of Nigeria New Logo

By Dipo Olowookere

The major shareholder in Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, Atlas Mara Limited, has denied media reports that it has received offers to sell off its stake in the first generation bank.

A few days ago, there were reports that Atlas Mara was planning to transfer its 50 per cent holdings to a bank in Nigeria.

In March 2020, there were reports that Zenith Bank, one of the five biggest lenders in the country, was considering a merger with Union Bank, but both financial institutions denied the reports.

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When a popular online news platform in Nigeria, Premium Times, claimed Atlas Mara was planning to sell its stake in the old generation bank, many observers flashed back to the 2020 merger reports.

But Atlas Mara, in a statement, said it was not aware of any bank approaching it for the acquisition of its shares in Union Bank.

“Atlas Mara Limited, the sub-Saharan African financial services group, issues the following statement in response to media reports incorrectly stating that Atlas Mara has received offers from local banks wishing to buy over Union Bank.

“While it is the company’s practice to refrain from comment on market rumours or speculation, we believe it is important to note that Atlas Mara has not received any offers from any local Nigerian bank or other bank wishing to acquire the company’s stake in Union Bank of Nigeria.

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“As previously announced to the market in 2019, the board of the company has been exploring a wide range of strategic options with the assistance of external advisers; that process is still underway and the company’s strategic objectives have not changed,” the firm said.

Also reacting, Union Bank urged the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), other regulatory agencies and members of the public “to disregard the publication in its entirety” because it is not true.

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The local lender said it agreed totally with the response given by Atlas Mara on the subject matter as the reports were “purely based on mere rumours and speculations.”

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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Banking

Piggyvest Acquires Wealth Management App, Savi.ng

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Piggyvest Acquires

By Adedapo Adesanya

Top savings startup, Piggyvest, has acquired Savi.ng, a wealth management app that allowed users to save via various features like automated savings, fixed deposits, joint savings and PAYE.

This means that all existing Savi.ng users will be automatically migrated to Piggyvest and will continue the good work savi.ng team has started.

Explaining the build-up to the acquisition, Piggyvest revealed that it had spent the last six months preparing – laying foundations, building partnerships needed for the next phase of our growth.

“We have spent the last 6 months preparing —The first half of 2021 has been an intense building period for the entire Piggyvest team.

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“Earlier this year, we began discussions to acquire a savings and investment company, Savi.ng and all its assets and we are more than proud to announce today that the acquisition is now completed,” it disclosed.

The company noted that 2020 was an incredible year as it saw tremendous growth even in a pandemic year as it paid N90 billion to users in the course of the year.

The company noted that so far surpassed this number already in the first half of 2021 and this necessitated the need to expand with the acquirement of the savings and investment company.

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It noted, “We will continue to provide you with the best savings and investment options that we can, and you will continue to be part of a community of 3 million people (and counting!) in the Piggyvest family.

“All existing Savi.ng users will be automatically migrated to Piggyvest and we’ll continue the good work the savi.ng team has started. Our vision remains the same: financial freedom for all, and with this acquisition, we are a step closer.

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“We believe in a connected ecosystem and our mission to give everyone the power to better manage and grow their finances remains ever strong.

“Our parent company, Piggytech Global Limited, continues to grow with a suite of consumer-focused finance products. We will continue to announce them as the year moves along.

“This announcement is one in a long line of announcements, improvements and updates that we will have for you as we continue in 2021.”

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Banking

Fitch Affirms AfDB’s AAA Credit Rating

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AfDB Board

By Adedapo Adesanya

The global credit rating agency, Fitch Ratings, has affirmed the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) credit rating at “AAA”, with a stable outlook.

Fitch said the triple-A rating was driven by the extraordinary support of the bank’s shareholders.

Fitch said it views the bank’s risk-management policies as conservative and assesses them as excellent, in line with AAA-rated peers.

“Concentration risk is low, with the bank’s five largest exposures accounting for 32 per cent of total banking portfolio at end-2020,” Fitch said.

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The Vice President for Finance and Chief Finance Officer of the African Development Bank, Mr Bajabulile “Swazi” Tshabalala said, “the affirmation of the bank’s triple-A ratings by Fitch, recognizes the very strong shareholder support our institution benefits from, as well as its strong capitalisation and risk management capabilities.

“The affirmation also speaks to the importance of the Bank’s public policy mandate, particularly during these very challenging times.”

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The global rating agency assessed the bank’s overall exposure to risks as ‘Low,’ balancing ‘Moderate’ credit risk with ‘Excellent’ risk management policies, ‘Low’ concentration, and ‘Very Low’ equity and market risks.”

Commenting on the Fitch rating report, the AfDB President, Mr Akinwumi Adesina, said: “The African Development Bank welcomes the affirmation of the bank’s ‘AAA’ rating, with a stable outlook, despite enormous challenges posed by COVID-19.

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“The bank will continue to enhance its policy and fiscal relevance in support of regional member countries, as they contend with the global and regional repercussions of the pandemic.

“While helping African economies reposition their economies in a COVID-19 environment, we will also maintain our prudential ratios and adequate buffers.”

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Banking

15 Fidelity Bank Customers Share N39m in GAIM Promo

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15 Fidelity Bank Customers

By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel

No fewer than 15 Fidelity Bank customers have gone home with N39 million in the Get Alert in Millions (GAIM 4) Season 4 savings promo of the financial institutions.

Two of the 15 lucky winners received N10 million each at the 6th/final draw of the campaign held last Thursday in Lagos in the presence of representatives of the National Lottery Commission and Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

The two latest two-digit millionaires; Sunday Okeke of Matori Branch Lagos and Justine Nwaozor of Suleja Branch, Niger State, emerged as star prize winners of the promo.

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According to Fidelity Bank, the duo and other winners were picked through a randomised and transparent draw system observed by the lottery and federal competition officials as well as officials of the bank.

Some of them were the Divisional Head of Product Development, Fidelity Bank Plc, Richard Madiebo; the Head of Savings Group, Fidelity Bank Plc, Ukpai Ibe; the Executive Director, Lagos & Southwest, Fidelity Bank Plc, Dr Ken Opara; amongst others.

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The cash prizes were in the categories of N10 million, N3 million, N2 million and N1 million. In addition, 18 consolation prizes of television sets, fridges and generators were given out during the draws.

The GAIM savings promo is one of the bank’s many initiatives aimed at rewarding new and existing customers for their consistent loyalty and patronage and promoting the culture of saving among Nigerians.

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It would be recalled that the promotion was halted in 2020 due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the resulting global lockdown.

However, the resumption of the savings promo, according to the organisers, was an opportunity to enrich the lives of its customers even in times of economic uncertainties.

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