he consummation this week of a share sale and purchase deal handing 93.4 per cent stake held by a group of core investors in the more-than-a-century old Union Bank of Nigeria Plc to Titan Trust Bank Limited, means the bank is now owned by the emerging markets-focused investment firm Tropical General Investments Limited (TGI), the parent company of the digital bank.
The investment company, based in Lagos with offices in Dublin, Ireland, has interests in pharmaceuticals, FMCG, agricultural inputs, homecare products and industrial chemicals.
Formed approximately three and a half years ago, Titan Trust got a national banking license to operate in Nigeria and got off to a quiet start although it was positioning itself as a challenger bank.
Dubai-based Vink Corporation, a subsidiary of TGI, serves as the trading unit of the group, and is named after Cornelius G Vink, the chairman, founder and owner of TGI.
After the takeover of Union Bank, the bank appointed new directors to its board and a new chief executive officer. The new CEO is Titan Trust Bank’s managing director, Mudassir Amray, while the directors are Farouk Gumel, Andrew Ojel, Abubakar Mohammed and Lawrence Mackombo. Mr Gumel is the chairman.
Here are the profiles of TGI’s top shareholders, the new owners of Union Bank.
CORNELIUS G VINK
A citizen of the Netherlands, Mr Vink has been operating in Nigeria as far back as the 1980s and was conferred with the national honour of Member of the Federal Republic (MFR) late President Umaru Yar’Adua.
He established TGI in 1991 with a small and obscure company, Comart Nigeria Limited, in a corner of Lagos, dealing in importation of chemicals into the country.
An organic growth within a decade and a year extended the firm’s subsidiaries to 15, with some of the companies including Chi Limited, West Africa Cotton Company (WACOT), Chi Farms, TGI Distri Limited, Chi Pharma, ORC Fishing, Kaizen Properties, Master Marine, WACOT Rice, Fludor Benin S.A, Fludor Ghana and West Africa Soy Industries Limited. TGI owns more than one hundred brands in different sectors.
Mr Vink sold a minority interest equivalent to 40 per cent shareholding of Chi Limited, maker of popular brands like CapriSun and Chivita, for $240 million to Coca Cola in 2016.
“We were approached by many prestigious global companies and we decided to do a deal with the largest of them all,” the billionaire said at the time.
He would later sell the remaining 60 per cent stake to the same acquirer, with the entire transaction rising to $1 billion.
“I … need to make more clarifications on the ownership structure of Titan. The bank is 85% owned by Vink Corporation – a foreign company,” Tunde Lemo, chair of Titan Trust said after the share purchase was announced in December.
“The local shareholders own the balance, and shareholding is dispersed. My shareholding is therefore very tiny and insignificant. I am only providing leadership,” he added.
According to the 2020 audited annual report of the lender seen by PREMIUM TIMES, Luxis International DMCC and Magna International DMCC, both of them parts of Vink Corporation DMCC, hold 48.09 per cent and 37.39 per cent stakes respectively in Titan Trust, summing up to 85.5 per cent.
Mr Yaro, a northern business mogul, owns 9.07 per cent of Titan Trust’s 58.4 million ordinary shares.
Mr Lemo, a former deputy governor of operations and director of the Central bank of Nigeria, chairs Titan’s Trust bank’s board. He is also currently the chairman of fintech powerhouse Flutterwave.
Mr Lemo, born in 1959, gained a First Class Honours degree in Accounting in 1984 from University of Nigeria Nsukka. He started off at Arthur Anderson & Co in 1985 and would years later become the chairman of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency.
A fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria and Chartered Institute of Bankers, Lemo took office in 2004 as director and chairman of the Abuja Securities and Commodities Exchange Plc. He was a former managing director of Wema Bank.
Mr Lemo holds a 0.9 per cent interest in Titan Trust Bank, translating to 529,970 shares.
ANDREW CHUKWUDI OJEI
Mr Ojei, a non-executive director of the bank, is a former executive director of Zenith Bank. He helped Zenith bank establish its first foreign subsidiary in Ghana, later becoming the managing director of the Ghanaian operation.
He is a graduate of accounting from University of Lagos. A Fellow and Council Member of The Institute of Credit Administration of Nigeria, Ojei’s interests span IT and real estate. Ojei has attended courses at Harvard Business School, Wharton Philadelphia and San Francisco as well as Advanced Management Programme at INSEAD France.
He has been appointed as a non-executive director of Union Bank.
Mr Ojei owns a 0.9 per cent stake in Titan Trust Bank.
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