Concerns as Herbert Wigwe sells 28.8 million Access Bank shares

 Access Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Herbert Wigwe, has sold 28.86 million shares worth N297.82 million, which represents 2.33% of his stakes in the bank. The transaction, which was done through Trust Capital Limited, was disclosed in a notice filed at the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

This means Wigwe had sold 6.81% of his stake in the financial institution, as he had sold a 4.48% stake on Friday. The bank disclosed in a notification of insider dealing, which was filed at the NSE on Friday, that its CEO sold 55.6 million shares ordinary shares, which he held indirectly.

Details: Access Bank said Wigwe held a total of 1.24 billion indirect shares as of April 2019. The indirect shares were made up of 537.73 million shares owned by United Alliance Company of Nigeria Limited and 702.56 million shares owned by Trust and Capital Limited.

  • It said the 55.6 million shares sold were from Wigwe’s indirect holding through Trust and Capital Limited

  • It added that the number of shares sold was an aggregation of sales made on four different instances ― 3.61 million shares on January 10, 20.14 million shares on January 13, 9.24 million shares on January 14 and 22.63 million shares on January 15.

  • Wigwe sold the shares at a price of N10.80 on January 10, N10.70 on January 13, N10.56 on January 14 and N10.22 on January 15.

  • Out of the 15 members of Access Bank’s board of directors, Wigwe has the highest stake in the bank, directly owning 201.23 million shares and 1.24 billion shares indirectly.

  • The additional 28.86 million shares were sold at N10.32 on January 16.

Investors raise concerns: In what is looking like a major concern to investors, the bank CEO’s is selling down his shares just after the bank announced that it had suspended its closed period. Earlier in the year, January 8th the bank announced that it had suspended its closed period which it had earlier communicated on December 30th. The closed period was supposed to last until January 29th, 2020.

Some investors who spoke to Nairametrics on the condition of anonymity are now wondering if there is a connection between the back to back sale of shares and the abrupt suspension of the announcement of the closed period.

While there is no proof, it is likely that as a leading member of the management of the bank he may have seen the results of the company giving him an undue advantage over other shareholders of the company who are not privy to results.

EFCC Invite: Herbert Wigwe was recently reported to have been arrested by officials of the EFCC even though the bank denied it issuing a statement on the website of the Stock Exchange. The bank claimed he was merely invited by the EFCC for talks on how to resolve the issue between Abia State governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, and his company  Slok Nigeria Limited and Access Bank.

“Given the differing interests of the Commission and the Bank on the assets of Slok deriving from the court’s recent judgment on Slok, the Commission had invited for interrogation officials of Access Bank who were handling the Bank’s recovery efforts on Slok credit including its Group Managing Director. 

The share price of Access Bank Plc closed at N10 on December 31, and recorded a sustained appreciation up till January 8, where it closed a N11.80. Access Bank closed trading on Tuesday at N10.05 having opened at N10.75.

Source: Nairametrics, January 22, 2020