We Never Agreed to Quit NSE for American Stock Market—Unity Bank

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The management of Unity Bank Plc has come out to clear the air on a purported deal it had with an private equity firm based in the United States, Milost Global Incorporated, which had planned to pump $1 billion into the financial institution.

This week, the foreign company issued a statement where it announced terminating the transactions with the local lender.

Milost alleged in its statement that while it was in talks with Unity Bank, the lender agreed to move its listing from Nigeria to the United States.

But Unity Bank, while reacting to the issue in a statement, denied ever agreeing to this.

According to the bank, it “did not at any time suggest or agree to move its listing from the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to the USA as falsely reported in the media.”

However, the bank admitted having investment talks with the American company, including other investors as regards injecting fresh funds into the bank to shore up its capital base.

“Pursuant to various Regulators’ advice to the Bank in recent times on the need to shore up its capital base, the bank with the mandate of its shareholders had engaged in series of discussions and engagement with prospective ‘value-plus investors.’

“All through these engagements, the bank has been properly guided by the extant regulations concerning capital raising and equally made the process open to all prospective investors.

“Milost Global Inc. is one of the prospective investors introduced to the bank by a local entity called Mayo BV.

“It is not unusual that this introduction and expression of interests would involve some level of preliminary discussions and exchange of non- binding documentary communications between the intending parties towards establishing mutual foundation on which the transaction contemplated will be initiated.

“The ‘Term Sheet’ dated September 4, 2017 said to have been executed was a ‘proposal’ submitted by Milost Global Inc. ‘for discussion purposes only and NOT a commitment’ by the parties. No definitive documentation governing the proposed financing was executed.

“It is in relation to the preliminary discussions that courtesy visits were exchanged between representatives of Milost and the Bank in 2017 and early 2018.

“The bank’s Managing Director/ CEO was in New York in October 2017 for other engagements and decided to visit Milost and verify the firm’s address as well as put a face to the officers of Milost that have been engaging the Bank via telephone and emails.

“A brief meeting was held and discussions were around the dynamics of Milost proposal to Unity Bank Plc, and socialization of the policies and regulations around equity investment in Nigeria.

“The bank did not at any time suggest or agree to move its listing from the NSE to the USA as falsely reported in the media,” Unity Bank explained in the statement.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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