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Loss-making UACN Property to sell 51% stake to Custodian Investment



Custodian Investment posts 15% plunge in profit amidst rocketing operating expenses, declares N0.35 dividend

The real estate subsidiary of UAC of Nigeria PLC (UACN), UACN Property Development Company Plc, which has been racking up losses for the past four years, will have 51 per cent of its shareholding acquired by Custodian Investment Plc any moment from now.

In separate statements to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Monday, Custodian Investment and UACN said they had entered a binding agreement for the former to purchase 51 per cent (representing 9,465,584,668 ordinary shares) of the former’s 93.9 per cent interest in UACN Property.

UACN Property has been under the spell of loss-making since 2016, a development that compelled its parent company in May to announce plans to spin it off in July. Last week, it reported a N2.9 billion loss for half year ended, 30th June 2020.

The transaction according to the statements which were signed by Wole Oshin (Group Managing Director of Custodian Investment and Folasope Aiyesimoju (Group Managing Director of UAC), will be executed through two phases.

The first will involve the initial sale of 946,558,467 shares, representing 5.10% of the issued share capital of UPDC, on execution of binding transaction agreements, and the second subsequent sale of 8,519,026,201 shares, representing 45.90% of the issued share capital of UACN Property upon receipt of requisite approvals.

‘The terms of the offer compelled the Board to re-evaluate the planned approach to deconsolidate UPDC and influenced the Board’s decision to proceed with the sale of a portion of UAC’s interest in UPDC to Custodian, effectively putting an end to the UPDC unbundling.

Read also: Custodian Investment’s Q1 profit falls to N1.86bn despite improved revenue

‘We are delighted about the positive impact that a strong anchor shareholder like Custodian will have on UPDC and are focused on ensuring a smooth transition,” Mr Oshin said.

Custodian Investment, whose interests span financial services subsectors including life insurance, non-life insurance, pension administration and trusteeship, is hoping to breathe the breath into UACN Property, which invested in the Nigerian luxury real estate market when the economy was booming but which now has been marred by high interest rates and economic downturn after the last recession.

‘This transaction will provide Custodian with a platform to capture arising real estate opportunities. It also immediately provides recurring cash flow visibility and attractive yields as a result of its direct exposure to Nigeria’s leading real estate investment trust (“UPDC REIT”) with a track record of profitability and annual dividend distribution which offers a good compliment for our product portfolio.

‘We are confident that the recent recapitalisation of UPDC, significant reduction in finance costs, and recently reconstituted leadership have repositioned the company to operate sustainably and capture growth opportunities aimed at increasing stakeholder value going forward,’ Mr Aiyesimoju said.

The share prices of the two parties to the transaction fell on the NSE on Monday, the day when the deal was announced with UACN depreciating by the full daily limit of 10 per cent to N6.3 per share and Custodian Investment by 7.27 per cent to N5.1 per share

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