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Stock Picks – Top Ten Bank Stocks That May Rise 49% By Year End

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I find the recent top ten Banking Stock Review by StanbicIBTC Stock Brokers quite instructive. They highlight the risk the banks face if the Naira continues to depreciate as most will loose revenue due to their exposure to loans given to import oriented industries. They also highlight how a depreciated Naira negatively affects foreign inflows which they estimate accounts for “80% of daily trades”.

Despite all this they still recommend a buy for all the top ten banking stocks attributing an average upside of 49% for a portfolio holding of the top ten banks. That is if you invest N1m in a portfolio of this stocks, you may see your money increase in value to N490k at the end of the year.

Interestingly Diamond Bank, which they claim will be most affected if exchange rate continues to depreciate, is projected to earn the most returns in share price. A whopping 179% returns!! But remember high returns means high risk. So if you invest in Diamond Bank today, have you at the back of your mind that whilst you stand to make major money, it is also likely to be the one to loose.

Ugo Obi-chukwu "Ugodre" is a chartered accountant with over 16 years experience in financial management, corporate finance and financial analysis. He is also a retail investor and a personal finance advocate with over a decade experience investing in the Nigerian stock market.Ugo is the founder/Publisher of Nairametrics and blogs regularly on the website.

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Dangote Cement is creating its own luck

Not only was the company able to basically eliminate Nigeria’s dependence on imported cement, but it also made Nigeria an exporter of cement to other neighbouring nations.

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Aliko Dangote rallies private sector operators against COVID-19, 10 fantastic things Aliko Dangote has done in the last 10 years

The year 2020 came with good tidings for Dangote Cement Plc. Beyond commissioning its Onne Export Terminal in Port Harcourt and its gas power plant in Tanzania, the group bagged over a trillion in revenue—a 16% jump from its N892 billion turnover in the year 2019. The company also successfully carried out a bond issuance and buyback programme while increasing its capacity by 3 million tonnes in Nigeria. Group sales volumes were up by 8.6% to 25.7 million tonnes across both cement and clinker lines, and finance income increased by 292% to about N30 billion, culminating in a profit before tax of N373 billion. Not bad at all for a pandemic-stricken year. Interestingly, most of these didn’t come by chance; the company appears to be creating its own luck.

READ: Dangote Cement considers debt funding options under 300 billion bond issuance programme

Here’s how:

Tighter Costs

It is not uncommon to see companies significantly increase their administrative or marketing costs in a bid to attain higher turnover. If it is because they believe that there is a direct correlation between how much is spent on overheads or marketing and the increase in revenue, Dangote Cement has certainly proven them wrong. Administrative costs for the year 2020 remained comparatively the same as its 2019 figure and selling and distribution expenses were even marginally lower despite its higher revenue. Hence, despite the circa 49% increase in taxes from its previous year disbursement, Dangote Cement still attained a profit of N276 billion for the year—38% higher than the previous year.

READ: Aliko Dangote’s net worth falls by $1.4 billion in Q1 2021 amid stock market sell-off

Increased investments (& Liabilities)

While it is true that you need to spend money to make money, expenses don’t do much when it comes to growth—investments are what make all the difference. Dangote Cement currently has its operations in Cameroon (1.5Mta clinker grinding), Congo (1.5Mta), Ghana (1.5Mta import), Ethiopia (2.5Mta), South Africa (2.8Mta), Tanzania (3.0Mta), and Zambia (1.5Mta), amongst others. In addition to its 32.25Mta production capacity in Nigeria, it now boasts a total of 48.6Mta capacity across Africa.

Not only was the company able to basically eliminate Nigeria’s dependence on imported cement, but it also made Nigeria an exporter of cement to other neighbouring nations. Its financials reveal a 15% increase in PPE to N1.4 trillion, also leading to a proportionate increase of 16% with N2 trillion in total assets. The downside? A 34% increase in total liabilities to also over a trillion, with both current and non-current liabilities increasing from prior year figures. With the higher demand for cement following recovery infrastructure spending, demand for more concrete roads, and increasing real estate development projects, its investments and industry monopoly will, however, place it in one of the best positions it can be. Consequently, it still has some of the best long-term credit ratings globally—and expectedly so.

READ: Dangote Cement pays N1.1 trillion in dividends in 5 years.

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Investor Focused

The Chief Executive Officer, Michel Puchercos, in his notes on the results, revealed that Dangote Cement experienced its strongest year in terms of EBITDA and volumes; he also attributed a lot of it to their increased focus in protecting their people, customers, and communities particularly from the impact of the pandemic. Earnings per share, as noted in the results, was up 36.9% to ₦16.14 and proposed dividend was maintained at ₦16.00 per share. The company has paid more dividends to shareholders in the last five years than any other company on the NSE. However, with its cement rumoured to be one of the most expensive globally, offering value to its investors is certainly the least it can do.

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Ecobank: Pan African challenges weigh in on the company’s results

The group, through its Nigerian subsidiary, continued to take a hit resulting from its 2011 acquisition of Oceanic Bank.

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Ecobank, Ayo Adepoju's appointment, Ecobank Transnational Inc. records 24% increase in Profit After Tax for Q4 2020.

ETI recently published its audited consolidated financial statements for the year ended 31 December, 2020.

Year-on-Year, revenues were up 4 percent to USD1,679.8 million while operating profits before impairment losses were also up 14 percent to USD625.7 million. Net interest income also increased by 21 percent on the back of a 27 percent decrease in interest expense, while customer deposits increased by 13 percent to USD18.3 billion.

However, apart from these, not so much else was great about the results. For example, profit before tax and goodwill impairment was down 17 percent to USD337.88 million, while profit for the year was down 68 percent year-on-year to USD88.32 million.

READ: Analysis: Sterling Bank, foreign exchange to the rescue

ETI faced several headwinds during the year that ultimately contributed to the performance. The group, through its Nigerian subsidiary, continued to take a hit resulting from its 2011 acquisition of Oceanic Bank. The effect on the profit after tax in 2020 was a USD163.56 million impairment charge in FY 2020.

In addition, a USD61million monetary loss was charged to the group’s profit resulting from the hyperinflationary economies of Zimbabwe and South Sudan where it operates. According to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency, Zimbabwe’s annual inflation eased to 348.59 percent in December 2020, compared with 401.66 percent in the previous month. To put this in perspective, South Sudan’s inflation rate on the other hand was estimated at approximately 58 percent at the end of 2020.

READ: UBA’s African footprint strengthens revenue and earnings

Perhaps further exacerbating the not-so-good results, the group effectively incurred a significant tax rate of 52.25 percent in 2020 compared to 33.3 percent for the same period by December 2019. A combination of these events caused a year-on-year decline in profit after tax by 57 percent, to USD174.32 million at the end of 2020 (2019: USD405.8 million).

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The tough operating environment brought about by the global pandemic also impacted the results. While loan and advances and impairment charges were relatively flat in 2020, a significant portion of its loan book received regulatory forbearance, which meant that customer repayments of loan principals were deferred by up to 12 months.

Also, the group’s NPL ratio remained higher than the regulatory NPL limit while Ecobank Nigeria’s NPL was higher than the Group’s NPL ratio. The write-offs arising due to goodwill impairment in Ecobank Nigeria as well as hyperinflation in Ecobank operations in Zimbabwe and South Sudan affected the group’s regulatory capital ratios.

READ: FCMB Group records N188bn revenue, grows Profit to N20.1billion

Although the group remained compliant with the minimum regulatory capital adequacy ratio requirements, its Tier 1 Capital Adequacy Ratio declined from 8.8 percent FY2019 to 8.5 percent FY2020 while Total Capital Adequacy Ratio also declined from 11.6 percent FY2019 to 11.5 percent FY2020. The minimum capital requirements were 7.25 percent Tier 1 and 9.5 percent, Total Capital, respectively.

In January 2021, Ecobank Nigeria raised N50 billion in subordinated debt from Development Bank of Nigeria with a 10-year tenor at 6.5 percent. It also in February 2021 raised USD 300 million in form of a 5-year, fixed-rate, US dollar-denominated bond. These amounts will improve the Nigerian subsidiary’s capital adequacy ratio.

READ: Banking sector NPLs down, loans up

ETI groups its African operations into four geographical regions. The reportable operating segments are Nigeria, Francophone West Africa (UEMOA), Anglophone West Africa (AWA), and Central, Eastern and Southern Africa (CESA). Unlike other Nigerian Deposit Money Banks with International presence that outperform their African and international subsidiaries, the reverse appears to be the case with Ecobank Nigeria within ETI. Among the four geographical regions, Ecobank Nigeria contributed the least to the operating income, operating profit, as well as profit before tax in FY2019 and FY2020. Reported RoE were also 26.9 percent, 18.6 percent, 16.1 percent and 4.2 percent in the AWA, UEMOA, CESA and Nigeria regions in 2020 (against 30.1 percent, 22.8 percent, 23.6 percent and 0.4 percent in 2019 respectively).

Jaiz bank

ETI’s overall performance depends on whether the results are reviewed from a Naira or Dollar perspective as some of the results were better in Naira than when reported in Dollars. The group lost about USD8.6 million as a result of exchange differences on foreign currency translation of foreign operations. ETI perhaps also seems to be affected by the poor performance of some of its acquisitions as well as its operations in some African countries where it has its presence.

Its earnings per share as of December 31, 2020 was 0.010 (cents) as against 0.778 (cents) for the same period in 2019.

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