Titan Trust Bank Limited, Nigeria’s youngest commercial bank, has acquired 89.39 per cent equity in Union Bank Nigeria Plc, in a transaction stakeholders are optimistic would improve the financial institution’s corporate governance.

In a notification to the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) and Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) yesterday, the banks said investors of Union Global Partners Limited, Atlas Mara Limited, and other shareholders had reached an agreement with Titan to divest their shareholding in the premier financial institution.

The agreement, which is subject to regulatory approvals and other financial conditions, will, upon completion, transfer 89.39 per cent of Union Bank’s issued share capital to Titan.

Commenting on the deal: Chairman of Union Bank, Beatrice Hamza Bassey said: “On behalf of the Board, we congratulate all the parties involved in reaching this phase of the transaction and the Board looks forward to supporting the next steps to ensure seamless completion of the process following regulatory approvals.

“We are grateful to our current investors whose significant and consequential investments over the past nine years facilitated the transformation of Union Bank, one of Nigeria’s oldest and storied institutions. Today, the Bank is well-positioned with an innovative product offering, a growing customer base of over six million and consistent year on year profitability. This is a solid foundation for our incoming investors to build on as we move into a new era for the Bank.”

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Titan Trust’s chairman and former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Tunde Lemo, said the board and other stakeholders “are delighted as this transaction marks a key step for Titan Trust in its strategic growth journey and propels the institution to the next level in the Nigerian banking sector.”

He added: “The deal represents a unique opportunity to combine Union Bank’s longstanding and leading banking franchise with TTB’s innovation-led model which promises to enhance the product and service offering for our combined valued customers.”

According to the Union Bank’s Managing Director, Emeka Okonkwo, this deal “marks a significant milestone in the journey of the 104-year old bank.

“While thanking our current investors for their unwavering commitment to the bank over the years, we welcome our new core investor, TTB. We recognize the strategic fit between the two institutions and expect that this deal will deliver the best outcome for our employees, customers and stakeholders. We look forward to collectively writing the next exciting chapter for Union Bank,” he said.

The Chief Executive Officer of Titan Trust, Mudassir Amray, described the deal as a significant leap in the market share of the two-year-old financial institution

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“UBN’s widespread presence, state-of-the-art technology platform, quality staff and strong brand loyalty fits well with our synchronized modular strategy. We look forward to delivering superior results for the benefit of our staff, customers, shareholders, and stakeholders.”

The President of New Dimension Shareholder Association, Patrick Ajudua, is optimistic the acquisition will lead to a turnaround in the fortunes of the bank.

“As shareholders of the bank, we are delighted with the acquisition of Union Bank’s majority stake by Titan, which did not come to investors by surprise. It is expected that the promoters of Titan, led by Lemo, will bring to bear their wealth of experience to address various governance and legacy issues impacting negatively on the fortunes of the bank,” he said.

President of the Issuers and Investors Alternative Dispute Resolution Initiative (IIADRI), Moses Igbrude, also said: “The acquisition is not surprising because the core investors have indicated their interest to divest from the bank. The new investors must ensure that the affairs of the bank are well managed for the benefit of all stakeholders.”

Titan Trust is the newest national commercial bank in Nigeria. It commenced operation in October 2019 with a strong capital base and has won some recognition as one of the fastest-growing commercial banks in the country.