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Firms Slam N7bn Suit on FCMB over Breach of Contract

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Two limited liability companies, Sunlek Investment Limited and Sunsteel Industries Limited have slammed a N7billion suit on First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Plc over alleged breach of contract.

In a 126 -paragraph of statement of claim accompanied by 27 paragraphs of a witness’ sworn oath and filed before a Federal high court sitting in Lagos south west Nigeria by a Lagos lawyer, Mr. John Olusegun Odubela SAN ,the two companies alleged that they operated loan accounts with First City Monument Bank. It was from there disbursement was made for all letters of credit /loan facility granted to them by the bank for the importation of raw materials.

However since 23rd May, 2013 when the bank entered into an agreement to grant them loan, and open a loan facility account for them till date, they have not been given the particulars of the loan facility account neither has any statement of account of this loan account been made available to them.

The companies alleged further that by a commitment letter dated 23rd May,2013 and the term sheet for facility duly signed /executed by the two parties, FCMB committed and undertook to fund on fully-underwriten basis the debt finance (importation of goods) of $1.5 million and N422.5 million .Thereafter other loans facilities were granted to the companies by the bank.

The total amount of the letters of credit opened by the bank in favour of the companies is $8 million out of which sum the companies contributed 10% based on the terms of the grant of the various offers for facility utilized to open letters of credit from 22nd ,March 2013 to September, 2017. The loans facilities were well secured.

The companies contended that from the available records available to them,it was reflected that they have fully repaid their indebtedness to the Bank

However the companies were bewildered when they received the bank’s letter that their indebtedness to the bank as at 14th of March,2019 was in the sum of N1.1 billion that the debt should be liquidated within 14 days,despite the fact that they had fully repaid the loan they took from the bank.

Consequently, they engaged the services of an accounting firm to audit their account,the plaintiff by their letter and their solicitor’s letter requested for statements of accounts of the loan accounts from the bank, but the bank deliberately failed to make available the said statement of account.

However from the forensic analysis of their accounts, the plaintiffs contended that they are not in any way indebted to the bank.

From the forensic audit report it was discovered that there were two transactions carried out on letter of credit, wherein substantial volume of the product were damaged. The value of items purchased by the letters of credit was in the sum of $2million for the importation of cold rolled steel strips, galvanized steel strips and Zinc wire from Chemetals(HK) limited Unit 1105H/F Lippo Center 89,Queens Way Hong Kong.

FCMB is solely and unilaterally liable to undertake all the risk Insurance policy Clause A for the consignment/raw material to be imported by virtue of the letter of credit.

The bank solely negotiated insurance policy obtained for the products purchased and appointed Mansard Insurance Plc to provide insurance cover Clause C for the importation of the consignment.

Upon taking delivery of the consignment after payment of custom duties and port charges, it was discovered that large volumes of the said consignments were in various forms of damaged conditions.

The companies informed the bank about the damaged consignment and the need to pursue insurance claim for the damage,the bank requested for documents which were presented to them to pursue the claim.

However, the agent of the bank sent a report to the companies to inform them that from the nature of damages to some of the products, the insurance policy, being a Clause C policy as undertaken by the bank is not sufficient to cover the nature of loss from the said damages to the products. The total value of the consignment damaged is in the sum of $628,386.23 and N336.1 million.

The bank ought to have undertaken an all risk insurance policy cover with the insurance company. As a result of the damages to the consignment,they were not fit for use and could not be refined in the plaintiffs machine and remained in the factory as junk or waste material.

The companies averred that they had suffered financial loss as a result of the breach of contract in the sum of N884.9 million which has negatively affected their business operation since 2014 till date. They averred that they are entitled to claim damages for breach of contract against the bank that had by its various acts of breaches of the various letters of offer for facility caused great loss to their business.

Consequently the companies’ claim against FCMB jointly and severally are as follows :

General damages in the sum of N5billion.

A declaration that the plaintiffs are not indebted to the bank in any sum premised on the fact that they had settled all their indebtedness on the facilities granted to them by the bank.

A declaration that the bank breached the terms of letter of credit and is liable for the loss of the letters of offer on importation, in the sum of $2million.

A declaration that the bank is liable to refund to the plaintiffs N884.9 million,being the losses uncured on the damaged consignment purchased through letters of credits,and failure and refusal of the bank to obtain an all risk insurance policy for the shipment of the said consignment.

An order for the payment of N826.9 million being the total sum wrongly debited on the companies’ account by the bank.

An order of the court restraining FCMB from appointing and or registering any instrument of appointment of an official receiver or any instrument whatsoever made for the purpose of enforcing the security for the payment of alleged indebtedness in the sum of N1.1 billion being allegedly claimed against the plaintiffs by the bank .

Cost of litigation assessed at N250million

Mr Adamu Nuru, FCMB Managing Director
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Fidelity Bank Eyes Oversubscription To N127.1 Billion Combined Offers

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Against the background of groundswell of supports and enthusiasm for the bank’s ongoing offers, Fidelity Bank Plc has started preparations to allow the bank absorb oversubscriptions.

With investors rallying behind the bank’s N127.1 billion combined rights and public offer, market pundits had indicated that the bank would raise more than initial size of the combined offer.

Reports have shown high subscription levels for the offers early weeks of the offer period, riding on the back of acceptances by existing shareholders and demand by the general investing public.

Fidelity Bank is offering a rights issue of 3.2 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each at N9.25 per share. The bank is also simultaneously offering 10 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each to the general investing public at N9.75 per share.

The acceptance and application lists for the rights issue and public offer, which opened on Thursday, June 20, 2024, are scheduled to close on Monday, July 29, 2024. The rights issue has been pre-allotted on the basis of one new ordinary share for every 10 existing ordinary shares held as at the close of business on Friday, January 05, 2024.

With promising feedbacks from receiving agents and as shareholders, investors, experts and other stakeholders continue to rate the combined offers high, the board of Fidelity Bank has called an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to enable the bank to absorb expected surplus funds.

Shareholders are scheduled to meet later this month to authorise the company “to accept surplus monies arising from potential oversubscription of the combined offer in such proportion as may be determined by the board of directors, subject to the company’s issued share capital and obtaining relevant regulatory approvals”.

Shareholders are also expected to increase the issued share capital of the company from N22.6 billion divided into 45.2 billion ordinary shares of 50 Kobo each to N26.70 billion through the creation of up to 8.2 billion in order to “accommodate potential oversubscription of the combined offer in the proportion of 5.0 billion additional ordinary shares under the public offer and 3.2 billion additional ordinary shares under the rights issue”.

The meeting will also mandate the board to take all necessary actions in line with the absorption of the oversubscription funds.

The board of the bank reiterated its commitment to retain the bank’s international banking license by meeting the new capital requirement within the regulatory timeframe.

According to the board, the resolutions proposed for shareholders’ approval at the upcoming EGM of July 26, 2024, are to enable acceptance of potential oversubscription from the combined offer, subject to relevant regulatory approvals.

The board pointed out that with the resolutions to accept oversubscription, the bank will be in stronger position to take advantage of emerging business opportunities and secure long-term profitability and competitive advantage, while ensuring increased shareholder value.

The net proceeds of the offer would be applied to investments in information technology infrastructure, business and regional expansion, and product distribution channels.

“The company is on a strong growth trajectory and requires additional capital for improved profitability, expansion- domestic and international, and enhancement of its digital capabilities.

“Continuing advances in technology, the rapid evolution of the business of banking, and changes in the operating landscape also make it imperative that the bank remains agile, adaptable and properly positioned to respond appropriately to developments, whilst remaining a competitive and forward-looking institution,” the board stated.

Directors of the bank assured that notwithstanding the continued rapid evolution of the banking industry, Fidelity Bank has been placed on foundation for strong and sustainable growth.

Fidelity Bank Plc’s combined N127.1 billion rights and public offer had struck early success as enthusiastic shareholders mobilise to pick their pre-allotted shares and buy more stakes in Nigeria’s most-widely owned commercial bank.

Shareholders have said they would pick their rights and buy more shares from the public offer in a massive show of support and positioning in the bank. Fidelity Bank had delivered an average annual capital gain of more than 100 per cent over the past five years and ranked among the elite stocks with the highest corporate governance rating at the Nigerian stock market.

In separate interviews, shareholders across Nigeria’s leading shareholders’ associations, said the pricing of the highly discounted rights issue and public offer, the operational growth of the bank over the years, dividend records and capital gains were attractions to buy more stakes in the bank. Fidelity Bank is one of the few companies that pay dividends twice a year at the stock market.

They envisioned that a post-recapitalisation Fidelity Bank would deliver higher returns and continue to be a leading preserver of values for shareholders’ wealth.

The shareholders, who spoke through their leaders, said recapitalisation has offered good opportunity to the investing public to buy into good banking stocks at reduced prices, noting that banks are the most influential stocks at the Nigerian market. Subscribers to primary market issues are exempted from paying transaction costs, unlike direct purchase through the secondary market.

Shareholders, under the auspices of Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Ibadan Zone Shareholders Association (IBZA), Association for the Advancement of Rights of Nigerian Shareholders (AARNS), Pragmatic Shareholders Association of Nigeria and Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria among others, said they were picking up their rights and mobilising supports for the bank.

The general shareholders’ endorsements represent a major boost for Fidelity Bank, which has the most diversified retail shareholders’ base among Nigerian banks.

With nearly 400,000 shareholders, no single shareholder held up to 5.0 per cent of the issued share capital of the bank. Five per cent and above are considered the material shareholding under extant laws and market regulations.

Rights issue is traditionally pre-allotted on the basis of existing shareholdings and its success, most often, depend largely on the satisfaction and enthusiasm of existing shareholders.

Fidelity Bank appears to be riding high on its highly diversified shareholding base with its popularity showing across all cadres of investors in the market. The shareholders’ comments came on the heels of similar positive comments by investment experts and capital market stakeholders.

The combined rights and public offers had opened to a rousing support from the investing public as key capital market stakeholders recalled the symbolic importance of Fidelity Bank’s impressive growths and investor-friendly disposition over the years.

From the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) to stockbrokers, investors and customers; the N127.1 billion combined rights and public offer received unreserved recommendations, with industry thought leaders citing the performance of Fidelity Bank in its core banking operations and as a quoted company at the stock market.

They said Fidelity Bank’s N127.1 billion combined rights and public offer was the right way for the nation’s banking recapitalisation exercise to start as the bank, which has the highest corporate governance rating and an average annual capital gain of more than 100 per cent at the stock market, has strong appeal to the investing public.

The Doyen of Stockbrokers, the oldest practicing stockbroker, Alhaji Rasheed Yussuff, said Fidelity Bank has good records going for it with its history of impressive growth and profitability and dividend payments.

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NNPCL Explains Reason For Drop In Dangote Refinery’s Stake To 7.2%

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited has said that it decided not to add to its earlier investment in the 650,000 barrels per day Dangote Refinery.

NNPCL spokesperson, Olufemi Soneye disclosed this in a terse statement in reaction to Dangote Refinery’s announcement that NNPC’s stake is now 7.2 percent contrary to the 20 percent stake.

According to Soneye, NNPCL had several months ago decided to cap its investment at the amount already paid.

Soneye said that the decision not to invest any further in the Dangote refinery did not impact NNPC’s business.

“Several months ago, we made a commercial decision to cap our investment at the amount already paid.

“This decision was taken by NNPC Ltd and has no impact on our business,” he said.

This comes as the Chairman of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, revealed that NNPCL’s stake in the Dangote Refinery is now 7.2 percent due to NNPC’s failure to pay the balance of their shares, which was due in June last month.

However, the position is contrary to the widely announced claim by the Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPCL, Mele Kyari, that the company had bought 20 percent in Dangote Refinery.

 

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Dem Staffer Fired After Saying Donald Trump Gunman Should Have Taken ‘Shooting Lessons So You Don’t Miss Next Time’

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Democrats staffer fired after saying Trump gunman should have taken ‘shooting lessons so you don’t miss next time’

A staff member of a Mississippi Democratic congressman has reportedly been fired after saying she wished sho0ter Thomas Crooks had ‘better aim’ to take Donald Trump’s life.

On Saturday evening, July 13, shortly after Thomas Matthew Crooks, 20, attempted to assassinate the former president during a rally in Pennsylvania, Jacqueline Marsaw, the field director for Mississippi Congressman Bennie G. Thompson shared a vile post on Facebook about the attack.

Marsaw, 61, the president and vice president of a local NAACP in Natchez, Mississippi, has since deleted the post and her account, but screenshots have been shared across social media.

She shared: ‘I don’t condone violence but please get some shooting lessons so you don’t miss next time ooops that wasn’t me talking.’

 

Democratic congressman

In a follow-up post, she said: ‘That’s what your hate speech got you!!’

Marsaw has since been fired from her position by Mississippi Congressman Bennie G. Thompson.

‘I was made aware of a post made by a staff member and she is no longer in my employment,’ Thompson said

A member of the crowd was killed in the deadly sho0ting, while two others who were wounded are in a critical condition. All three are males, according to law enforcement officials.

After Trump was sh0t, the Secret Service swarmed around the 45th US President as piercing screams were heard from the MAGA crowd.

He then got to his feet with blood down his cheek and raised his fist in the air while the audience shouted ‘USA’ as he was dragged off stage.

Trump was taken to the hospital for treatment before being later released.

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