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Shareholders ask SEC, NSE to intervene in AP, Access Bank dispute

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Worried by the effect the ongoing legal tussle between African Petroleum Plc and Access Bank Plc over a $35m facility might have on their investment, shareholders of AP on Wednesday called on the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Nigerian Stock Exchange to wade in and settle the issues amicably.
They also requested that all the underwriters of the last public offer of AP should fulfill their obligation to the company, since the underwriting was done on firm basis.
Speaking at the yearly general meeting of AP in Lagos on Wednesday, the President of the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Chief Sunny Nwosu, said there was need for the regulators of the capital market to bring the two parties together and resolve the issue amicably in the interest of the shareholders.
Nwosu said,’’The NSE and SEC should bring the two companies to the table and resolve the issue. We should not fuel the crisis. The two parties should come together and settle the matter amicably and avoid further crisis.’’
Two other shareholders, Chief Aderemi Oyepeju, and Mr. Nornah Awoh, stressed the need for the underwriters of the last offering of AP to fulfill their obligation to the company since the underwriting agreement is binding on the parties whether an offering was successful or not.
Oyepeju said, “We need that fund from the underwriters. They must pay, whether the offer was successful or not.’’
Responding, the Chief Operating Officer of AP, Mr. Tunde Falasinnu, said the board was working assiduously to get the proceeds of the offering, which would enhance the company’s performance and profitability.
In the same vein , the Company Secretary, Mrs. Elizabeth Idigbe, said the offering had 11 underwriters, ,out of which some have not fulfilled their obligations on the underwriting agreement.
She said, “We have 11 underwriters, but some are yet to fulfill their obligations. Access Bank, Intercontinental Bank, Diamond Bank and Greenwich Trust have not paid, but GTB, Afribank, Zenith Bank and FCMB have paid.’’
In the financial year ended December 31, 2008, the company’s turnover stood at N162.6bn, up from N102.5bn in 2007,while operating profit rose from N8.33bn to N12.65bn. The director proposed a dividend of N5.20 per share which was unanimously approved at the meeting.
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