Business News of Wednesday, 7 March 2018
A consortium of financial institutions that control majority shares in the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), has pledged its shares, proceeds, entitlement and voting rights to uniBank, a leading wholly-owned Ghanaian bank.
The consortium, led by Belstar Capital – a turnkey project finance and implementation institution, also includes Starmount Development Company Limited, EDC Investments Limited and SIC-FSL.
These institutions took up a substantial stake (51%) in ADB’s Initial Public Offering (IPO) in 2016 when the bank announced its plans to go public. With these 51 percent shares under the control of uniBank, including having majority voting rights, the bank (uniBank) can now determine the strategic direction of ADB.
By this move, the proceeds and entitlement attached to the shares which include the voting rights at any general or extraordinary meetings and any future dividends that may accrue to those shares have been transferred to uniBank.
What is immediately not clear is whether this turn of events will significantly affect the strategic direction of ADB.
In December 2017, there were various reports that uniBank had secured about GH¢700million in fresh capital injection from Belstar Capital as part of the bank’s recapitalization drive in response to the Central Bank’s increased stated capital requirement.
ADB has recorded impressive financial results for the past two years since it went public. After recording losses of GH¢78million and GH¢70million in 2015 and 2016 respectively, the bank posted after-tax profit of GH¢50million for its third quarter 2017 results.
uniBank, on the other hand, has grown its total assets significantly since 2015 to become a first quartile bank and the only privately-owned local bank among the top 5 in the banking industry.
It would be recalled that the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, in November last year, confirmed that government’s plans to merge ADB and National Investment Bank (NIB) to create a National Development Bank that will focus on financing industrialisation and agriculture.