31 August 2005

Nigeria: Investors Scramble for Citizens Bank IPO

Lagos — INVESTORS, stockbrokers and customers on Monday turned out en masse in the commercial city of Aba, Abia State, to rally support for the Initial Public Offering (IPO) of Citizens International Bank Plc.

They gathered at an investors forum organised by the bank to sensitise potential investors in the South East on its offer.

Speakers at the event held at Hotel de La Paix expressed confidence in the bank's new board and management led by Prof. Anya O. Anya an d Mazi Okechukwu Unegbu, chairman and managing director respectively, to take the bank to greater heights.

Chairman of the occasion and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the hotel, Chief Okebulu Jumbo, in his remarks, described Citizens Bank as a franchise established with the welfare of the people as its major priority.

According to him, the bank's offer is a great opportunity for the public to turn their fortunes around, emphasising that his optimism derives from his personal experience with the bank's spanning over a decade.

Jumbo noted that the integrity and credibility of the management and staff and the professional touch they give in their service delivery are some of the factors that will market the bank's shares on offer. He also urged the business community to support Citizens Bank in meeting the N25 billion minimum capital requirement by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Also speaking, the Managing Director of Nitex Nig Limited, Aba, Sir Nduka Ikoro, attributed the success of his numerous business engagements to a resounding business relationship with Citizen Bank, saying "with a little below N10 million deposit in Citizens Bank about 10 years ago, I am now a proud owner of a chain of businesses owing to the tremendous support I received from the bank."

While applauding the management and staff of the bank for maintaining high professional standards, the businessman called on Nigerians to buy Citizens Bank shares on offer.

Other speakers were full of commendation for the new management, pledging their support for the bank in raising its shareholders' funds to the minimum required by the CBN.

Earlier in his address, Citizens Bank's boss, Mazi Unegbu had told the audience that the bank is shopping for N22.5 milion to enable it meet the minimum requirement for consolidation.

He recalled that when the bank began operations over a decade ago, Aba was among the first cities in Nigeria where the bank's branch was established. This, he said, accounts for the importance shareholders of the bank attach to the business city of Aba.

While appealing to Abia people to support the bank's IPO by investing in the shares on offer, the CEO explained that at N1.50 per share, the bank deliberately subsidised the offer in order to make more Nigerians co-owners of the "great institution." The event started with a road show round major streets of Aba metropolis.

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