Nigerian Stock Exchange NSE

Trading at stock market was bearish yesterday as losses by 20 equities dragged the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index by 0.21 per cent to close lower at 30, 609.06. Similarly, market capitalisation shed N26.5 billion to be at N11.18 trillion.

The decline, which is contrary to a growth of 0.34 per cent last Friday, resulted from losses posted by leading equities such as Lafarge Africa Plc, Forte Oil Plc, FBN Holdings Plc, GTBank and Zenith Bank Plc among others.

In all, 20 equities shed value as against 17 that appreciated. Forte Oil Plc led the price losers with 9.9 per cent, trailed by Ikeja Hotel Plc, which declined by 9.6 per cent.

Wema Bank Plc shed 8.4 per cent, while Linkage Assurance Plc, CAP Plc and John Holt Plc went down by 8.3 per cent, 6.4 per cent and 6.2 per cent respectively.

Other to price losers included: Lafarge Africa Plc (4.0 per cent); Continental Reinsurance Plc (3.7 per cent); PZ Cussons Nigeria Plc (3.3 per cent); Fidelity Bank Plc ( 3.0 per cent) and Oando Plc (3.0 per cent).

On the positive side, Diamond Bank Plc led the price gainers with 9.47 per cent, trailed by Access Bank Plc with 9.4 per cent. Both stocks attracted high patronage following the confirmation that they have reached agreement to combine their businesses through merger.

After weeks of denial, both banks yesterday confirmed that Access Bank Plc would be acquiring acquiring the entire issued share capital of Diamond Bank in exchange for a combination of cash and shares in Access Bank via a Scheme of Merger.

Based on the agreement reached by the Boards of the two financial institutions, Diamond Bank shareholders would receive a consideration of N3.13 per share, comprising of N1 per share in cash and the allotment of two new Access Bank ordinary shares for every seven Diamond Bank ordinary shares held as at the implementation date.

The Chief Executive Officer of Diamond Bank, Uzoma Dozie, said: “The proposed combination with Access Bank will create one of Africa’s leading financial institutions. There is clear strategic rationale for the proposed merger and strong complementarities between the two institutions.

In his comment, the CEO of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe said: “Access Bank has a strong track record of acquisition and integration and has a clear growth strategy. Access Bank and Diamond Bank have complementary operations and similar values, and a merger with Diamond Bank, with its leadership in digital and mobile-led retail banking, could accelerate our strategy as a significant corporate and retail bank in Nigeria and a Pan-African financial services champion.

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