Access goes fully digital in N365bn capital raise

Onwubuke Melvin
Onwubuke Melvin

Access Holding, the parent company of Nigeria’s biggest bank, Access Bank, has announced a full digital subscription to its N365 billion rights issue.

This disclosure was made in a notice filed with the Nigerian Exchange Limited. The firm said it intends to raise N365bn through the issue of shares to strengthen its capital base, support expansion, and take advantage of emerging opportunities in the financial services sector.

In addition, it seeks to raise up to $1.5 billion using equity, quasi-equity, and debt issuances.

In his speech to the Press at the second Annual General Meeting of the Holdco, the chairman, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, revealed that digital technology would play an interesting role in the bank’s capital-raising efforts.

He said, “If you remember the 2004 capital raising, we went around Nigeria. It led to the democratisation of our capital market, others followed suit. The number of shareholders of banks and the capital market increased as a result of that effort.

“This time around, we have digital technology that we are going to deploy fully. There have been public offers that have leveraged digital technology but using Access Bank’s capacity, the NGX’s digital capacity, we are going to do some interesting things. This rights issue, we have shareholders and each of them would be able to make that investment decision just by touching their phones. That way, the issue of dilution and concerns that they may have about participation would be dealt with.”

He continued “We’re moving on to the rights issue resolution. At this junction, I think we’ll take one minute to crave your indulgence as I appreciate you all for the support you have given our predecessor company, Access Bank, and of course now Access Holdings.

“We have sought to raise capital. The amount that we mention today is high and significant and the capital-raising effort that we are pursuing is a significant step into the future. I would like to remind shareholders that between 2004 and 2007, our team when I was CEO raised $2bn of common equity capital. Therefore, come 2024, Access Bank is much older, much wiser, much stronger, larger, and significantly respected by the capital market, really raising over N300bn is not much of a challenge.”

According to the Access Holdings Group Chief Executive Officer, Bolaji Agbede, a large portion of the proceeds from the rights issue would be given to its banking subsidiary to comply with the requirements set out by the central bank.

Agbede said, “In terms of the proceeds from the rights issue which we are hoping to get about N365bn, we will be giving the bulk of it to the banking group to enable them to meet the CBN’s capital requirement. Part of the things that they are using it for is as working capital requirements for investment in African subsidiaries as some of the growth in the international subsidiaries that they have.

“If you look at all the headwinds that are coming along, it is important that you have a robust capital plan and this is one of those things that would help them. The other thing that we will also be doing is that some of the amount, not as much as the banking group of course would be going into the non-banking subsidiaries as well.”

Finally, Aig-Imoukhuede, who co-founded Access Bank with the late Herbert Wigwe, encouraged minority shareholders to take up their rights, saying, “We are interested in shareholders; large, small continuing with us on our journey. Locally and internationally, we have always had a unique relationship with the capital market.

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