Fidelity Bank, Afreximbank take over Benin, Kano DisCos

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The Federal Government has said Fidelity Bank Plc has commenced plans to finalise the takeover of Benin, Kano and Kaduna electricity distribution companies.

The Chairman, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission Sanusi Garba, and Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises, Alex Okoh, said this in a statement.

They said said the action followed the activation of collateralised shares of the DisCos by Fidelity Bank and African Export-Import Bank.

The regulators also announced the restructuring of two other electricity distribution companies, namely Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company and Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company.

The statement was titled, ‘Restructuring of Kano, Benin, Kaduna, Ibadan and Port Harcourt DISCOs.’

“Today, we were informed by Fidelity Bank that they have activated the call on the collateralized shares of Kano, Benin, and Kaduna (Fidelity and AFREXIM) DISCOs and that they have initiated action to take over the Boards of these DISCOs and exercise the rights on the shares,” the statement reads.

It said Fidelity Bank’s action was a contractual and commercial intervention, following an agreement between the core investors in the DISCOs and the lender.

“BPE is involved because of the 40 per cent shareholding of government in the DISCOs,” the statement added.

It said Fidelity Bank informed BPE and NERC that the new board members of the Kano DISCo were Hasan Tukur, chairman; Nelson Ahaneku, member and Rabiu Suleiman, member, according to the statement.

Also, KC Akuma, chairman; Adeola Ijose, member and Charles Onwera; member, were said to be new board members for Benin DisCo, while Abbas Jega, chairman; Ameenu Abubakar, member and Marlene Ngoyi, member; as board members of Kaduna DisCos.

The FG said BPE had nominated Bashir Gwandu, Kano; Yomi Adeyemi; Benin and Umar Abdullahi, Kaduna as “independent directors to represent government’s 40% interest in the three DISCOs respectively, during this transition”.

“We are engaging with the Central Bank of Nigeria (as the banking sector regulator) to ensure an orderly transition and to ensure that Fidelity Bank does not hold the DISCOs’ shares in perpetuity.

“It is envisaged that the majority interest in the entities would be sold to capable private sector investors willing and able to re-capitalize and manage the entities efficiently.

“We have also received assurances that Fidelity Bank will participate fully in all the ongoing market initiatives aimed at improving the sector (e.g. National Mass Metering Program),” the statement added.

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