adb, uniBank saga: Shareholders chose profits over dev’t – Toma Imirhe

Business News of Saturday, 10 March 2018



Financial Analyst, Toma Imirhe

Financial Analyst, Toma Imirhe has suggested that the decision to increase the profits of adb could have influenced the pledging of shares by some shareholders of the bank to uniBank.

According to him, the continuous existence of government’s ownership in adb and the likelihood for the government to influence resource allocation, could have impacted the profits of the bank therefore leading to the pledging of shares by the shareholders.

Mr. Imirhe’s comment is in reaction to a report within the week, of a purported takeover of adb by uniBank after a pledge by some four shareholders of adb.

Speaking on the Big Issue, he said the quest to improve on profits influenced the decision by the private investors.

“I am not saying that the government’s ownership in any way affects the quality of service of adb which is still as it has always been if not better. But there are issues of profitability; for instance, if the government can get the bank to push something into a project for developmental purposes when it has the alternatives that would have been more profitable but do not have the developmental function, what it means is that in order to contribute to the development of the country is to forgo the profitability as an institution,” he explained.

Mr. Imirhe added, “Remember that the private investors are just in for the profits. So I think the institutional investors have now decided that with government as the majority shareholder, adb was not maximizing their profitability and therefore they wanted to opt out.”

The move if successful, could have given uniBank a controlling interest of 51 percent in adb.

Currently, the shareholding structure of adb involves; Bank of Ghana (9.5%), government of Ghana (32.3%), Belstar Capital Limited (24%), Starmount Development Company (11%) , SIC-FSL (10%).

Others are EDC Investment Limited (6%) as well as Retail investors and adb staff (7.2%).

The Bank of Ghana has since denied knowledge of any such transaction.

In a statement released on Wednesday, March 7, 2018, uniBank dismissed reports of any takeover of adb as purported.

It rather explained that the pledge has been necessitated to get the shareholders in question fulfill a financial agreement they went into in November 2017.

Toma Imirhe believes the coming in of adb could have also distorted government’s plan to direct adb to support the developmental agenda.

“Now uniBank aware of the situation realised that there are four shareholders who are disenchanted in this way and when we put all these shares together, it gives 51 percent. Now if they take over the bank, then they can prevent government from undertaking the developmental plans that it has and operate on purely commercial profits. So the whole thing was based on getting the shares of all of those guys and having a controlling stake,” he emphasized.

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