Shareholders in Owerri, Imo State, have requested to be allowed to buy more than their allotted share in the ongoing Diamond Bank Rights Issue meant to raise N50.37 billion for strategic growth projects. They also want the closing date for the issue extended to enable them take up fully their shares. The call was made during the Shareholders’ Forum organized by the Bank in Owerri to sensitise shareholders on the offer as well as encourage them to take up their share rights. The bank is currently offering three new ordinary shares for every five ordinary shares of 50 Kobo held as at close of business on 13 June, 2014.
In his presentation, Dr. Alex Otti, Group Managing Director/CEO, Diamond Bank PLC, noted that Diamond Bank operates a diversified business model and is one of the top performing banks in Nigeria, ranking sixth in total assets, deposits and earnings; and second by Returns on Investment. “Diamond Bank boasts a credible leadership with clear focus and an enhanced risk management approach that have returned the Bank to profitability since 2012. The strong profitability and healthy balance sheet are testament to management’s commitment to continue to yield value for shareholders,” Dr.Otti stated.
Continuing, he said, “The bank has recorded significant growth from December 2013 to June 2014 with assets up by fifteen per cent and deposits up by eight per cent. The net interest margin is also strong at 7.1% as at half-year 2014. In a fast growing economy such as Nigeria, the recent rebasing of the GDP to $510bn offers fresh imperatives for investment opportunities.” One of the shareholders present at the event, Prof. R. N. Echebiri of the Department of Agricultural Economics, Michael Opara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, said: “Diamond Bank is on a very progressive trend and I think that the Issue will help the Bank make further progress. The Bank already has a very promising balance sheet and the Rights Issue is going to boost it further and increase its capacity to diversity its operations, so it is a welcome development. Basically, the performance of the bank has been impressive and it is on top on all indices of performance. If fortune were not on its side the Bank would have been scraped like others that went under. I will surely pick up my share and possibly ask for more.”
MaziChikeronwu Ezekiel, who spoke on behalf of several shareholders that wished to increase their stakes in the Bank, requested that management give consideration to people who wished to take up more shares than allotted to them. He explained: “In my case, I did not have much money when I bought these shares and currently belong to what may be considered as the bottom of the rung. Given the profitability of the shares in the last few years, my family has now pooled funds to increase our investment in the Bank and we would like management to give us opportunity to buy more than the three shares offered us for every five we currently have.”
The Diamond Bank Rights Issue is open from Wednesday, July 30 to Tuesday, August 26, 2014. Proceeds from the Offer will be deployed mainly in the expansion and refurbishment of the Bank’s business locations, development of IT infrastructure and working capital support.