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Wema gets SEC, NSE approval to raise N35bn

By The Citizen

Wema Bank Plc has received approval from the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the Securities and Exchange Commission to raise N35bn through special placing.

The bank had earlier announced plans to issue 23.33 billion ordinary shares of 50k each at N1.50 per share, and will thereafter, list the additional shares on the floor of the NSE.

Speaking during its completion board meeting in Lagos on Monday, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Wema Bank, Mr. Segun Oloketuyi, said with the development, the bank would complete the process of raising the required capital before April 30, 2013.

He explained that the completion of the placement process would further enable the bank to compete more effectively and enhance the quality of products and services being offered to its increasing customer base.

Oloketuyi said, 'We are trying to generate more capital for the business, which will mean an opportunity to do more; and basically, what this will do for us is to enable us to have more power and room to acquire more assets and improve our business activities.

'The fact remains that we will be spending a little of the revenue from this placing on infrastructure, and most of it will be dedicated to boost our working capital, which means increased cash to do business.

'The bank expects to use the funds realised from the special placing to grow the business, invest in information technology infrastructure and expand our operations, and we will remain focused on efficient service delivery, whilst scaling our business organically and strategically for superior returns to all stakeholders.'

Oloketuyi also spoke on the plan to seek a national banking licence to enable Wema expand its scope of operations beyond the current geographical boundaries.

He said the process of exploring available options to securing an NBL from the Central Bank of Nigeria would commence upon the completion of the special placing.

In December 2012, Wema Bank announced plans to raise capital by way of a special placing with commitment from investors already secured to the tune of the N35bn offer size.

And judging by the high interest and demand, Oloketuyi said the placing would be fully subscribed.

'We have spoken to a number of investors and we have commitment from them; and when the time is right, we will make known these investors to the general public; and the fact is that the process we are going through is part of what we had lined up, and these funds will help us to go after the business the way we really want to do it,' he said