Wema Bank Secures Approval To Raise $26.3 Million

Wema Bank, a renowned financial services provider partly controlled by Nigerian gaming magnate Kessington Adebutu, has completed the first phase of its recapitalization strategy, receiving regulatory approval to raise N40 billion ($26.3 million) through a rights issue that will begin in December 2023.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have approved the bank’s rights issuance of 26.3 million. This milestone allows Wema Bank to issue capital in accordance with the CBN’s N200 billion ($132 million) minimum requirement, which is planned for March 2024. The recapitalization program requires commercial banks to achieve these standards in 24 months, from April 1, 2024 to March 31, 2026.

In a public statement, Moruf Oseni, Managing Director and CEO of Wema Bank, highlighted the bank’s commitment to maintaining its commercial banking license with national authorization. “We are pleased to announce the successful completion of the first tranche of our Capital Raise Programme, having secured all necessary regulatory approvals,” Oseni stated. “This early start underscores our dedication to excellence, and with a strong focus on our digital strategy, we anticipate further achievements in the near future.”

Oseni emphasized the shareholders’ complete participation in the first rights issue and noted that at the 2023 Annual General Meeting, shareholders agreed raising an additional N150 billion to meet the CBN’s capital criteria. This process is projected to take 12 to 18 months. Oseni emphasized the bank’s commitment to providing optimal returns to stakeholders, citing the recent N40 billion rights offering as a big step forward.

Wema Bank has led the way in financial services innovation, as seen by the launch of ALAT, Africa’s first totally digital bank. Agusto & Co, a Pan African credit rating firm, has upgraded the bank’s corporate rating to BBB+, and Fitch, a renowned international rating agency, has kept it at BBB.

Kessington Adebutu, a prominent Nigerian gambling magnate and the creator of Premier Lotto Limited, the country’s oldest gaming enterprise, has a 28.09 percent ownership in Wema Bank through Neemtree Limited. Neemtree Limited, founded in 2013 as a special-purpose corporation for strategic acquisitions, represents Adebutu’s strategic investment strategy.

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