FBN Holdings will have to wait longer to hold an Extraordinary General Meeting to seek shareholders approval to raise additional capital after a Federal High Court in Lagos ruled that the company should maintain status quo.

In July 2022, the court barred FBN Holdings, the parent company of First Bank, from holding any annual general meeting until the conclusion of a suit filed by a shareholder, Olusegun Onagoruwa, in 2021.

On April 17, Onagoruwa’s lawyers asked the court to stop FBN Holdings from holding an extraordinary general meeting initially scheduled for April 30. Two days later, the company canceled the meeting scheduled for April 30, where shareholders were to vote on a decision to raise ₦300 billion ($231 million).

On Wednesday, Justice Akintayo Aluko ruled that the 2022 ruling is maintained.

FBN Holdings now faces a race against time to raise fresh capital, which requires shareholders’ approval at an extraordinary general meeting before the Central Bank’s deadline of April 2026. This is important considering the nature of legal matters in Nigeria where court cases sometimes take up to twenty years.

Nigeria’s biggest banks must raise $2.6 billion in 24 months after the Central Bank shared new minimum capital requirements. The regulator will not allow banks to use accumulated earnings or debt to meet the new capital requirements.

A day after the April 30 meeting was canceled, Adesola Adeduntan, First Bank’s CEO, announced his resignation to “pursue other interests” eight months before his tenure expires. He led the lender for a record nine years. Olusegun Alebiosu has been named acting CEO subject to the approval of the Central Bank.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect that the court ruled FBN Holdings remains barred from holding annual general meetings until the case is settled.

Ganiu Oloruntade Reporter, TechCabal

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