Financial news roundup for the week ended 17th, August 2018
FINANCIAL NEWS: It’s no news that commercial banks haven’t been doing much of lending in the last two years. Following the economic downturn of 2015/2016, Nigerian banks have increased lending to the government and reduced lending to the private sector. However, with treasury bills yields falling from as high as 18% to below 12%, banks are rethinking their strategies and will increase lending to the private sector again.
Nigeria’s most efficient bank, GTBank confirmed during the week that it will be increasing its loan book by 10% before the end of 2018. The bank’s CEO, Segun Agbaje, said that the bank could potentially earn between 7-9% on loans, as against cash deposits in foreign banks which earn below 2%. By boosting loans, the bank will also compensate for recorded drops in yield from treasury investments.
According to Agbaje, GTBank will take out about $700 million or $800 million from its foreign deposits and dedicate the money towards boosting its loan capabilities. This will enable the bank to take advantage of projected growth this year, as the Nigerian economy continues to show improved recovery from recession.
2. FINANCIAL NEWS: MTN Nigeria Limited,during the week, signed a ₦200 billion medium term loan deal with 12 Nigerian banks. The company claims that the loan will help facilitate its expansion plans, particularly the expansion of its operations into under-served parts of Nigeria such as villages.
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The 12 banks are Diamond Bank Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, First Bank Nigeria, Standard Chartered Bank Plc, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, Unity Bank of Nigeria Plc, Citibank Nigeria Limited, Ecobank Nigeria Plc, First City Monument Bank Plc, FSDH Merchant Bank Limited and Rand Merchant Bank Nigeria Limited.
Details of the loan indicates that it has a 5-year repayment plan with a two-year moratorium. Important to note that this is not the first of these sorts of syndicated loans from MTN. They have always repaid their loans.
3. FINANCIAL NEWS: Businesses operating in the Apapa axis may witness some relief soon, as the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Usman, recently disclosed that the Apapa Wharf road will be reopened next month. The road being constructed by Dangote Group leads to the Apapa port, the busiest in the country.
She also stated that rehabilitation of the roads leading to the Tin Can port would commence soon. A number of small quoted companies stand to benefit immensely from the reopening. These include Dangote Sugar, Dangote Flourmills, and Flour Mills of Nigeria
4. FINANCIAL NEWS: United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc has introduced a new website for its customers for internet banking. The new website features phrase and image security which is designed to increase secure user login. The features require that users set up a onetime Phrase and Image which will be displayed every time on their password screen.
This, according to the bank, is to ensure that every user is on its Internet Banking site. This is good news, especially if you are a UBA customer. The former internet banking site was clunky and notuser friendly. First Bank, Zenith Bank and GT Bank also recently changed their internet banking websites. As great as Diamond Bank’s mobile app is, it needs to change its internet banking website. Which bank has the best or worst internet banking website?
5. FINANCIAL NEWS: As DSTV increases its subscription fees, StarTimes has countered with a reduction in subscription fees. During the week, the company announced the reduction of its highest bouquet (Classic Bouquet) from N2,600 to N1,900. The package, according to series of tweets on StarTimes’ Twitter account, would offer the inclusion of Ebony Life TV, ST Nollywood Plus, and Fox.
Interesting part of this is that StarTimes actually took to twitter to explain that it decided to reduce its fees because it thought it was “insensitive” for DSTV to increase theirs. “We are aware of the recent price hike in subscription by D other pay TV network and sincerely think that Nigerians deserve better. “The price increment is highly insensitive to the current economic hardship most Nigerians who also happen to be pay-TV subscribers are faced with.
“Since their price increment took effect last week, we have received tons of DMs, mentions & enquiries about our pricing, products and services by defecting customers. “In view of this, we are happy to inform everyone that our highest bouquet (Classic Bouquet) will be reduced from N2,600 to N1,900 – With the inclusion of Ebony Life TV, ST Nollywood Plus & Fox.” Well, just that StarTimes does not have something called Premiership football.
6. FINANCIAL NEWS: Industrial logistics company Ladol, reported during the week that it made over $500 million worth of investments in the Lagos free trade zone. Some of the facilities that are being developed by the industrial logistics company include a fabrication yard, warehouses, some 10,000square-metres new workshops, and laydown areas.
Jide Jadesimi, an Executive Director and the Head of Business Development at Ladol, disclosed this recently in Lagos during a breakfast meeting which was organised by the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC). Company CEO, Amy Jadesimi, also used the occasion to disclose the company’s consideration to list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and issue corporate bonds – moves that she believed could help Ladol raise capital to facilitate the projects.
7. FINANCIAL NEWS: MTN Nigeria’s parent company, MTN Group Limited, is reportedly thinking about selling off its equities in one of Africa’s most dominant e-Commerce platforms, Jumia. According to Bloomberg, MTN is having discussions with potential buyers to dispose of its 40% stake in online merchant, Jumia.
Earlier in the year, Jumia’s rival in Nigeria, Konga was sold to Nigeria’s Zinnox Group in a deal that surprised a lot of Nigerians. Reports suggest that Jumia and other e-commerce companies continue to bleed millions of dollars in cash monthly with no possible model for plugging the hole.
Jumia is said to be worthabout $1 billion in enterprise value and while MTN has denied any “short term” plans for a sale, sources suggest that MTN needs the cash to help offset some of its debts.
8. FINANCIAL NEWS: Cement maker, Lafarge, confirmed during the week that it will be embarking on a plant expansion in either of its South West plants. The company disclosed this in a tweet chat with Nairametrics during the week. Lafarge has two plants in the South West –Ewekoro and Sagamu. The CFO also disclosed that the expansion of the new plants will help Lafarge create about 250 direct jobs and 2,500 indirect jobs.
9. FINANCIAL NEWS: Intelligent customer engagement technology company, Flytxt, has embarked on a three-year leasing deal with MTN Group. Flytxt, under the deal, would automate the telecommunication giant’s inbound and outbound marketing across traditional and digital touch points of MTN’s entire network of more than 217 million subscribers.
Having signed the deal with Flytxt, all MTN’s operations across Africa and the Middle East will be using Flytxt’s flagship product, NEON-dX to provide an improved, personalised service forMTN customers, resulting in higher product uptake and reduced customer churn.
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10. FINANCIAL NEWS: Linkage Assuranceannounced during the week that it has now received NAICOM’sapproval to underwrite Agricultural Insurance. This approval enables the company to insure farmers and service providers in the agricultural value chain.
Among the products approved were Linkage Assurance Crop Insurance Solutions, Linkage Assurance Farm All Risk lnsurance, Linkage Assurance Farm Motor lnsurance, and Linkage Assurance Livestock lnsurance Solutions. This supposes that some of the fintech driven farming startups can access insurance products from the likes of Linkage.
I am not just sure if the insurance company still has the balance sheet to support any meaningful insurance product, particularly in the Fintech space.
11. FINANCIAL NEWS: Another insurance company, Mutual Benefits Assurance, opened its N2 billion rights issue during the week. The company plans to shore up its capital base ahead of the implementation of the new capital requirement for insurance companies in Nigeria.
The rights issue will be sold at 50 kobo per share, its par value and will close on the 14th of September. Mutual Benefits Assurance is one of the most disappointing stocks on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and has not given its shareholders any significant capital appreciation.
In fact, the company hurriedly approved a dividend payment earlier in the year, probably in a bid to entice investors. The last time it paid a dividend was in 2008. The stock currently trades at about30 kobo per share, much cheaper than its rights issue offer price. When stocks trade at a discount to issue price, you are probably better off buying it on the floor of the Exchange than taking up rights.
12. FINANCIAL NEWS: FCMB informed theNigerian Stock Exchangeduring the week that there was an attempted fraudulent card transaction in its commercial bank subsidiary. The bank claims that the fraudulent transactions were completed but the total amount involved “is not material.” The Police has since declared some of the perpetrators wanted. ATM fraud and card fraud are not new in banking.
13. FINANCIAL NEWS: OCP group, aMoroccan fertilisercompany, reported that it is currently building fertiliser blending plants in Nigeria that will produce soil and crop-specific fertilisers to ensure improved yields. According to reports, OCP Africa is constructing three ultra-modern fertiliser bulk blending plants in Nigeria.
The multi-million dollar plants, located in Ogun, Kaduna and Enugu States,will be equipped with facilities to produce both crops and soil specific fertiliser blends with the possibility of micro nutrients additions. When the three plants arecompleted in 2019, the plants will add a total of470,000 metric tonnes per annum of blended fertilisers to the Nigerian agricultural industry to support the developmental initiatives of the Federal Government of Nigeria in the sector.
14. FINANCIAL NEWS: Another Taxi Booking company, CarXie was launched during the week to possibly compete with the likes of Uber and Taxify. The application is owned by Dukan Stanley, a subsidiary of Dukan Group. The company also launched Swift2Pay, a payment service. Dukan Group Operations Director, Chinedu Amadi, says theCarXie and Swift2Pay will enhance competitiveness and the ease of doing business in the country.
To demonstrate why CarXie should be embraced ahead of the competition, Chinedu threw up the patriotism card. According to him, “It is high time Nigerians realised that the only way to the industrialised economy of our dreams is to patronise made in Nigeria products and services.
The preference for everything foreign must end in the face of product and services that meet global standards. The greatest advantage of a home grown technology design is its ability to effectively solve local problems as CarXie is designed to do.” What can I say?
15. FINANCIAL NEWS: Computer Warehouse Group, CWG, has announced a strategic partnership with Entersekt, a globally recognized innovator in mobile-first fintech solutions. CWG will provide Entersekt’s full suite of mobile-centredsecurity and paymentsenablement products to banks and other enterprises in Nigeria and beyond, either as a hosted solution or on-premises implementation.
CWG’s rollout of Entersekt technology begins with Transakt, a sophisticated app-based mobile identity and authentication product. According to some data, about 90% of Nigeria’s mobile phone users do not use smart phones, so mobile banking is mainly facilitated via USSD applications.
To support security forUSSD, CWG will offer Interakt, which counters man-in-the-middle and other fraudulent attacks through real-time SIM-swap checking and multi-factor transaction authentication.
16. FINANCIAL NEWS: ITB, a mega construction company in Lagos, revealed during the week that it is about to complete the Trinity Towers, in Oniru, Victoria Island, Lagos state. Trinity towers is owned by members of the City of David parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG).
According to ITB, the edifice, which will be sitting on 10,000 squaremetres, will have three towers of 14 floors each linked together and separated by corridors. Its special features include a helipad, garden terraces, gymnasium, 5,000 seater auditorium, wellness center, and parking spaces for over 650 cars.
Trinity Towers is valued at2billion naira and is positioned to raise the bar for contemporary office and relaxation spaces in Nigeria.
17. FINANCIAL NEWS: NAHCO revealed during the week that it has signed a series of new contracts with both local and international airlines. The company claims that it is signing with local airlines include Max Air, which has since started domestic operations from Lagos and Kano, and handling Hajj operations for Med-View Airline.
Recall that NAHCO, in February 2018, began handling the Rwandan international airline, Rwandair, providing ground-handling service for the fast rising operator at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
18. FINANCIAL NEWS: Still on airlines, Air Peace, has said that it is considering opening mini-hubs for its operations in Kaduna, Kano and a few other cities to help decongest the Lagos airport.
The airline’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Allen Onyema, who stated this during an inaugural flight to Kaduna on Monday, said that the carrier was embarking on massive expansion of its domestic flight operations to tackle air travel difficulties in the country and build bridges of unity across regions.
Now, what was interesting about this announcement was the very “unifying” tone struck by Mr. Onyema. “The unity of Nigeria cannot be through politics alone, it can come through business and we are opening up routes to make this happen. Lagos is also getting congested and we are looking at mini-hubs such as Kaduna and Kano where flights can originate.”
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19. FINANCIAL NEWS: Nigeria’s Minister of state for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, asserted that the claim by Tewolde Gebremariam, Ethiopian Airlines’ CEO, of being the favourite to manage Nigeria Air was fake. According to him, discussions are ongoing with prospective partners and investors ranging from development finance institutions, airlines and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
“I don’t know about ET or any other prospective investors being favourites or frontrunners to establish and manage Nigeria Air.” It appears that apart from shopping for operators for Nigerian air, the government is also looking for operators for MRO centre, cargo terminals, concession of airports, establishment of an Aviation Leasing Company, etc.
Raphael is a seasoned and dynamic writer, with interest in Banking, personal finance, entrepreneurship development. A councillor and motivational speaker.