GSE lifts suspension of ADB shares trading

The Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) has lifted the suspension of trading in the shares of agric-focused bank, ADB, which allows the bank’s shares to be traded.

The exchange, on Wednesday, 7th March, suspended the trading of shares of the bank to seek clarity on the purported takeover of ADB by uniBank, a local bank. The takeover was in respect of the pledging of shares by the financial consortium that owns a major stake in ADB to uniBank.

But the Governor of the Central Bank, Dr. Ernest Addison, stated that the regulator did not approve the transaction and thus the deal is null and void. ADB, also, in statement issued a statement to clarify the situation.

“The Bank has received letters from Belstar Capital Limited, EDC Limited and Starmount Investment Limited having pledged their various shares in the Agricultural Development Bank Limited to Unibank. It is the opinion of ADB that, a pledge does not have the effect of the transfer of ownership.

Thus if the shareholders mentioned herein have pledged their shares together with any benefits or privileges attached thereto that will not have the effect of making uniBank a shareholder of the Agricultural Development Bank Limited or constitute a takeover of the Bank.

Indeed, in accordance with the Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions Act 2016 (Act 930), “… a person shall not without the prior approval in writing of Bank of Ghana enter into an agreement or arrangement which will result in the change in control of a bank, specialised deposit-taking institutions or financial holding company”.

The Act continues that, for the purpose of share acquisition in financial institutions, the Bank of Ghana must be notified of share acquisitions of five, ten, thirty, fifty or seventy-five percent of equity thresholds.”