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Liberty’s N3.72bn stake for UNIC nears completion



Liberty’s N3.72bn stake for UNIC nears completion

                     …as NSE delists underwriter


The move by South Africa’s Liberty Holdings to acquire 75 per cent majority equity stake in UNIC Insurance Plc for 160 million Rands (N3.72 billion) is gaining momentum as the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE) has delisted the ailing insurance firm.

Liberty Holdings is an investment holding company with existing investment interest in the Nigerian market through Total Health Trust.

As part of the arrangement, UNIC was last week delisted and replaced by UNIC Diversified Holdings (UDH) Plc at the NSE as the insurance company completed its transformation into a financial services holding group. A report last week said the exchange conducted a simultaneous delisting of UNIC Insurance and the listing of the shares of UNIC Diversified Holdings (UDH).

A total of 2.582 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each were listed at 50 kobo per share, giving UDH a starting market capitalisation of N1.29 billion. The listing marked the completion of the restructuring exercise by UNIC, which had launched a scheme of arrangement to restructure its corporate status and shareholding.

The listing brought into effect the scheme of arrangement, whereby the shareholders of UNIC received equal number of shares in UDH as they previously held in UNIC, and UDH becomes a holding company of UNIC.

The listing also lifted the full suspension on the shares of UNIC. The NSE had placed UNIC Insurance on full suspension following the approval of the scheme of arrangement to enable the company complete the restructuring to become an insurance company under an investment holding company. With more than five decades of operations, UNIC Insurance has struggled with declining performance in recent years.

Like most insurance stocks, it has stagnated at its nominal price of 50 kobo at the NSE. Many analysts saw the merger and acquisition deal between UNIC Insurance and Liberty Holdings as a possible boost for the two companies.


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