Unity Bank shareholders lose N468m, stakeholders rush to take out investment

A rush by shareholders to cash in on a slight increase in the share value of Unity Bank has caused value of share of the financial institution to dip by N467.57 million.

Last week, shareholders of Unity Bank saw their investment rise by 3.3 percent following renewed investors’ interest in the company’s stock at the capital market.

On July 15, Unity Bank stock was valued at N0.59kobo per share, but the next day, the share price depreciated to N0.54kobo, but recorded an uptick between July 17 to July 23, as it moved from N0.55kobo to N0.61kobo.

Unity Bank’s bull run continued on Monday after a slight increase to hit N0.62kobo. However, the appreciation in share value was short-lived on Tuesday.
Some shareholders moved to protect their profit from last week’s uptick which handed them N233.78 million. The sell off among stakeholders caused Unity Bank market value to crash by 6.45 percent on Tuesday, according to analysis.

Over 1.09 million volume of shares was sold off at the capital market at a reduced cost of N0.58kobo per share, in contrast to the 669,132 shares sold on Monday at N0.62kobo.

The sell off on Tuesday caused a decline in the worth of investments held by the remaining stakeholders as over N467.57 million was lost.

Just recently, shareholders of Unity Bank Plc expressed serious concerns over the challenges facing the bank, urging the board and management to urgently address them.

The shareholders made this known at the lender’s 15th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on the 1st of July 2021 at its headquarters in Lagos.

At the AGM of Unity bank plc, which was streamed online and monitored by our correspondent, the shareholders said they were worried that the board was yet to find a suitable investor to save the bank from crumbling.

One of them, Mrs. Adebisi Bakare, the national coordinator of the Pragmatic Shareholders Association of Nigeria (who represented over 30,000 shareholders of Unity bank) while speaking on behalf of her group lamented that the red flag raised by the bank’s auditor, KPMG, was worrisome and further asked when the board plans to fully recapitalise the bank.

According to her: “I want to talk about the external auditors’ report on key matters with respect to material uncertainty related to going concern. I want to ask what the board and management are doing to address the issues [raised] as regards a negative shareholders’ fund of N275 billion.

“I want to know when exactly the bank will be recapitalised. Are we expecting new investors before end of this year or next year?

“Furthermore, there have been issues of increasing cyber attacks and frauds in financial institutions, how has our bank been able to weather the storm to ensure safety of depositors’ funds?
“Also, what are the steps the board is taken to have three independent directors as required by CAMA 2020?”

In his response, the chairman of Unity Bank, Mr. Aminu Babaginda, said, “COVID has basically slowed down the recapitalisation process and every other thing. There were a lot of interested parties and there are still interested parties that we are still engaging with and I think that in due time, we will get there, but until we finish the negotiations, we will not bring it to light.”

Another shareholder who was at the meeting representing other shareholders who could not physically attend due to COVID-19 restrictions, Mr. Kabiru urged the bank’s management team led by Mrs. Oluwatomi Somefun, to address the negative rumours about the company, saying “we don’t want to hear anything bad about Unity Bank again.

“MD, we are tired of the negative news in the media. We don’t want to hear bad news anymore; we want to hear positive news about the bank.

“I also want to appeal to our chairman, who is a young man with energy and resources, to ensure that this bank continue to survive.

“We know what is going on all over the world and the economy and our profit, which went from N3 billion to N2 billion, and we know God willing, the bank will survive.

“For me, if I can’t say good things about this bank, I should better keep my mouth shut. To be frank, I am among the oldest shareholders. I have always been with the bank. I have been banking with the Unity Bank since when I was in secondary school and I am still with the bank up till now. The bank can check my records to confirm and that is why I don’t want this bank to collapse. I hope the challenges the bank is facing will become history soon.”

Additional report by Ripples Nigeria

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