UACN’s 3rd largest shareholder sells stake in N973.5m deals

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The third-largest single shareholder in Nigeria’s oldest conglomerate, UAC of Nigeria (UACN) Plc, Blakeney LLP, has sold nearly all its equity stake in the 141-year-old conglomerate.

Transaction reports at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) showed that Blakeney LLP, which started the divestment through secondary market sales in April, has nearly completed the divestment with a last tranche of 80 million shares crossed as negotiated deals at the NSE.

The reports indicated that Blakeney has so far sold some 155 million ordinary shares of 50 kobo each in UACN with the deals valued at N973.52 million. This represented 5.38 per cent equity stake in UACN, where Blakeney had held the third largest stake of 5.8 per cent.

The last tranche of 80 million ordinary shares of 50 kobo each belonging to Blakeney LLP were crossed as negotiated off market deals at N5.75 per share. While the buyer was not indicated, Cardinal Stone Securities Limited represented the buyer with FBN Quest Securities acting for Blakeney LLP.

As an off-market, negotiated cross deal, it means that the deal was not subjected to the dynamics of price discovery for the particular period. Off-market trade implied that the deal was sealed outside the floor of the NSE.

The negotiated cross deal platform of the Exchange is a special-purpose trading platform that is meant for voluminous transaction. By the cross deal, it implies that the buyer and the seller had been prearranged and the transfer at the stock market was a mere perfection of the agreement between the two. The negotiated cross deal allows the parties to the deal to close the deal at reduced cost.

A breakdown of the divestment transactions showed that Blakeney had in April 2020 sold 10 million ordinary shares of 50 kobo worth N62.02 million. It continued in May 2020 with sale of 25 million shares worth N171.5 million. It closed first half with the sale of 40 million ordinary shares of 50 kobo each worth N280 million in June 2020. It recently closed many deals for the sale of 80 million shares worth N460 million.

Themis Capital Management and two others- Stanbic IBTC Nominees and Blakeney had in 2017 emerged as the three major shareholders in the conglomerate with more than five per cent equity stake. Prior to this, Stanbic Nominees Nigeria was the only shareholder with more than five per cent equity stake.

The 2017 post-recapitalisation filing had indicated that Themis Capital Management has the largest equity stake of about 8.06 per cent. Stanbic IBTC Nominees had 7.8 per cent while Blakeney had 5.8 per cent.

Themis Capital Management earlier this year acquired additional shares in the conglomerate in a transaction that further consolidated Themis Capital Management’s leading shareholding in the widely-owned conglomerate.

Themis Capital Management had acquired about 0.5 per cent new equity stake in UACN in several deals involving 14.28 million ordinary shares of 50 kobo each valued at an average price of N10. The shares, valued at N142.8 million, were also acquired through the NSE.

UACN’s Group Managing Director (GMD), Mr Folasope Aiyesimoju, is the founder of Themis Capital Management, an investment firm focused on concentrating capital and talent on high-potential opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa. Aiyesimoju assumed position as the GMD on April 1, 2019.

Nigeria’s oldest surviving business, UACN started business in Nigeria in 1879, well ahead of the 1914 amalgamation that created the current Nigerian nation. With 10 subsidiaries in key sectors of the Nigerian economy, the UACN Group consists of several active companies spreading through manufacturing, services, logistics and real estate sectors of the Nigerian economy. These include four quoted subsidiaries-CAP Plc, UACN Property Development Company (UPDC) Plc, Livestock Feeds and Portland Paints and Products Nigeria Plc; in addition to the parent company, UACN, which was listed in 1974. UPDC Real Estate Investment Trust, which is also quoted on the NSE, is a subsidiary of UPDC.

UACN acquired Livestock Feeds and Portland Paints in 2013. Other members of the group included UAC Foods Limited, UAC Restaurants Limited, MDS Logistics Plc, Warm Spring Waters Nigeria Limited, Grand Cereals Limited, and Unico CPFA Limited.

Source: THE NATION

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