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Alert: These 17 stocks have been suspended from trading on the NSE

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Oscar Onyema

In a sign that the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) is waking up from its slumber, it on Friday issued a notice suspending trading in the shares of 17 companies for non submission of their results.

It claims the suspension is in line with its guidelines which gives it the powers to suspend any quoted company that did not release its results within a stipulated period.

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The suspension is effective July 5th 2017 and includes a list of 17 companies out of which 7 are insurance firms. The NSE also reveals that the suspension will remain in place until the submission and approval of the required results by the exchange.

The suspended companies are listed below.

  1. African Alliance Insurance Plc
  2. Equity Assurance Plc
  3. Fortis Microfinance Bank Plc
  4. Guinea Insurance Plc
  5. Premier Paints Plc
  6. Resort Savings & Loans
  7. Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc
  8. African Paints (Nigeria) Plc
  9. Aso Savings & Loans Plc
  10. Ekocorp Plc
  11. Evans Medical Plc
  12. Goldlink Insurance Plc
  13. Great Nigeria Insurance Plc
  14. Omatek Ventures Plc
  15. Union Dicon Salt Plc
  16. Union Homes Savings & Loans Plc
  17. Universal Insurance Company Plc

On the suspension

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The NSE has been criticized by a section of investors (Nairametrics inclusive) for taking too long to wield the big stick on rogue listed companies who continue to flout listing rules, despite the obvious risk they pose to investor funds. The Nigerian Stock Exchange has had a history of seeing quoted companies that are yet to release any result embark on bullish runs leading to gains of over 100% in some cases. Union Dicon, which is included in this list, some mid 2016 rallied from about N10 t0 N17 despite not having released its results. It is often considered an anomaly for a listed company that has failed to produce any results or corporate action for years, suddenly see its share price mount a bullish run.

We now hope that this step in the right direction will be sustained.

Will the suspension be lifted ?

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Eventually after the companies have paid the required fines and submitted their results, the suspension will be lifted. Since some of the companies have their results pending before regulators, they may remain suspended on the exchange for a while.

Can I buy or sell during suspension

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Shares of any of these companies cannot be traded on the Nigerian Stock Exchange during the period of the suspension. If you own these shares and wish to sell, you will not be able to sell.

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What if the companies never get to lift their suspension?

If this occurs the NSE will have no choice but to delist these companies from the exchange. Therefore, if you were to sell the shares, it will have to be either crossed or sold on the NASD (a market where unlisted shares are traded).

Here is a copy of the press release.

Onome Ohwovoriole has a degree in Economics and Statistics from the University of Benin and prior to joining Nairametrics in December 2016 as Lead Analyst had stints in Publishing, Automobile Services, Entertainment and Leadership Training. He covers companies in the Nigerian corporate space, especially those listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). He also has a keen interest in new frontiers like Cryptocurrencies and Fintech. In his spare time, he loves to read books on finance, fiction as well as keep up with happenings in the world of international diplomacy. You can contact him via onome.ohwovoriole@nairametrics.com

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Air Peace to evacuate stranded Indians from Lagos to Kerala

A list of the passengers to be attended to has already been given and the flight shall depart Lagos on May 30, 2020, to Cochin Airport, Kerala.

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Air Peace signs deal with Brazillian aerospace company , Air Peace suspends flight operations over COVID-19

The management of Air Peace Nigeria has been contacted by the Indian High Commission in Nigeria to undertake the evacuation of stranded Indian nationals to Kerala, India. This was disclosed by the airline via its Twitter handle.

The airline explained that a list of passengers that would be attended to have been released and it has started reaching out to the Indians on Saturday.

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It stated, “A list of the passengers to be attended to has already been given to us and we have commenced reaching out to them. The flight shall depart Lagos on May 30, 2020, to Cochin Airport, Kerala.”

The flight is not free anyway. According to the airline, payments are expected immediately and they are Economy is $1.300 and Business class is tag $1,700. “You are equally allowed to pay in Naira at N460/$,” it added.

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However, some Indians in Nigeria has reacted with mixed feelings to the development on Twitter. While some were ready to join the flight back home, others called for the refund of ticket fare booked a week ago.

READ ALSO: Hope rises as Emefiele set to meet MTN, 4 banks today.

For instance, Jayant Khamesra requested for the refund ticket fare of N568, 100, which he paid for a flight from Lagos to Delhi.

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He said, “Please refund ticket fare P47812 LAGOS to DELHI. No show by Air Peace and it is been 1 week now, there has been no refund or confirmation of the same. Reference ALHN79 amount N568,100. I am sure a good world-class carrier like Air Peace won’t delay refunds purposely. Please act fast.

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Revenues of top African firms to drop by 10% amid COVID- PwC

In the meantime, CFOs are prioritising strategies aimed at protecting/keeping their customers and clients safe. They plan to make the best of the current situation by adopting various necessary strategies.

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COVID-19

Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) of top African companies are expecting their companies’ revenue to decline significantly in 2020, no thanks to the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is according to a new study that was released by PwC Africa earlier this week, a copy of which was emailed to Nairametrics.

The Details: Focus on the Revenue crisis

According to the report, which was titled PwC’s COVID-19 CFO Pulse Survey, the African CFOs, who were surveyed indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic will impact their business. About 89% of the respondents also believed that their companies’ revenues and profits would decline by 10% and 9%, respectively.

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These findings are coming just about the same time business leaders across the continent and beyond are beginning to adjust to the new normal caused by the pandemic. At the moment, company executives (including the CFOs), would have to make some tough decisions that will determine how they emerge from this difficult economic time. A part of the report said:

“As they manage their process, business leaders including the CFOs we’ve interviewed will be faced with a series of decisions that will have a wide-reaching impact: on their own financial future; on the well-being of their employees, customers and other stakeholders; and on the wellbeing of the society at large.”

It should be recalled that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had earlier projected that economic activities in Sub-Saharan Africa would decline by 1.6% in 2020. For crude oil-dependent countries like Nigeria, the IMF projected that the economy would contract by an average of 2.8%.

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READ MORE: Efficient Power: Addressing a Critical Element in Nigeria’s Agro-Industrial Revolution

Will things get back to normal?

According to the report, African CFOs who responded to the survey believed that their companies would eventually get back to normal. In precise terms, 38% of the respondents said their companies would bounce back within three months of the post-COVID-19 era. Unfortunately, nobody knows with certainty when the pandemic would end. This is because there is no cure/vaccine in the meantime, even as the virus continues to spread in parts of Africa.

In the meantime…

CFOs are helping their companies to adopt very strict cost containment strategies. At least, 85% of them said they are effecting cost containment strategies, even as 60% admitted that they are either deferring or completely canceling already planned investments. Others (49%) also noted that their companies are changing their financing plans.

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Focus on CAPEX

The PwC report went further to note that the CFOs, who typically favour cost containment strategies, disclosed that their companies are focusing on slashing most of their costs on capital expenditure (82%). Similarly, they are also cutting costs by reducing their workforce (52%) and operations (36%).

READ ALSO: FG owes DisCos over N500 billion in electricity Subsidy – PwC 

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“CFOs clearly favour a strategy of cost containment and of the 33 African respondents who said their company is pursuing this course of action, the majority are focusing on facilities and general capital expenditure (82%) followed by investment in the workforce (52%) and operations (36%).”

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In the meantime, CFOs said their companies are prioritising the following needs;

  • CFOs are focused on meeting stakeholders’ needs
  • Ensuring proper financial disclosures, especially bearing in mind that measures taken by companies to contain the pandemic have distorted economic activities, a situation that has implications for financial reporting
  • Community focus and social engagement also remain top priorities for many African companies. Recall that many companies in Nigeria rallied (under the aegis of CACOVID) to donate billions to FG in order to facilitate the fight against the virus
  • CFOs are also focusing on devising new supply chain options for their companies, bearing the disruptions that the pandemic had already caused in this regard
  • CFOs are also prioritising strategies aimed at protecting/keeping their customers and clients safe
  • Most importantly, they plan to make the best of the current situation by adopting various necessary strategies

READ ALSO: A New Wave: Where to Invest in H2 2020

You may download and read the full report by clicking here.

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Newspapers owners slash salaries by 50%, reduce print pagination by 45%

Covid-19 is not sparing the 4th Estate!

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Nigeria has boasted to have the freest and most outspoken press among other African states, though the industry has consistently been the target of harassment by past military dictatorships, and even in some cases, by democratically elected Governors and Presidents. Many journalists have been imprisoned, exiled, and tortured.

As we speak, the industry and practitioners are facing a different kind of torture. This time around, not by any political office holder, but by a looming recession that has befallen the industry. Though the industry had been battling with several hurdles before the advent of Coronavirus, the pandemic is threatening its survival amid other uncertainties.

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The sector, according to some journalists and industry watchers, is currently grappling with several problems, ranging from COVID-19 pandemic, depleted funds due to the lockdown across major cities, loss of revenue due to lower ad sales, looming job loss, and salaries slashed, among others.

The staff of most of the print news platforms are going through bad times. While a lot of them were informed of salary cuts from April 2020 till further notice, some have lost their jobs as their employers embarked on ‘Operation Cut Cost at all Cost’.

The unfortunate thing is that the sack is on-going. What that means is that anyone that was not sacked in April should not be over-confident, as the firms are rolling out more letters of dismissal or slash in staff salaries.

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In separate interviews, some staff of The Nation, BusinessDay, Punch Newspapers, Television Continental (TVC), and Cool FM, among others, lamented over fears of either losing their jobs or suffering more salary cuts. A lot of them told Nairametrics that their managements had told them that it would never be ‘Business as usual’, as no one could tell when the COVID-19 pandemic would be over.

In the case of The Nation, findings revealed that the medium is currently serving some staff across departments letters of disengagement. Already, over 100 out of about 500 workers (across Nigeria) have been sacked and still counting.

One of the medium’s managers, who claimed anonymity, told Nairametrics that the management told employees that the exercise would continue until the company stabilized, a time which no one can tell for now. That is not all, The Nation has also slashed salaries of everyone earning over N60,000 by 50%.

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He said, “It started when the company reduced the pages of the Newspaper from 48 to 32 pages and the excuse then was that it was due to the lockdown, which crashed the readership of the newspaper. Another notice followed that a certain percentage of the staff strength would be reduced.

“As if that was not enough, we got another notice that salaries would be cut by 50%, which was the final straw. We got confused because we had thought if people are sacked, there wont be a pay cut. This is indeed a bad time for the industry and for us here because if more people are sacked, few of us left would have to do their jobs with less pay.”

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For Punch, one of the reputable and widely read newspapers in Nigeria, this is indeed a trying period. After exploring other options like slashing pages of the dailies from 62 to 32 (depending on the numbers of advertisement), the Ademola Osinubi led-management also took a COVID-19 induced decision and informed its staff beforehand. Here is an excerpt of the memo Osinubi sent to all staff:

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This pandemic has dealt with our business telling and severe blows. Our circulation and advertisement revenues dipped dangerously, compounding the operational and revenue challenges birthed by the migration of a majority of print newspaper readers and adverts to digital platforms.

“I am not at liberty to disclose all of the measures that the management has taken so far. But the ones that could be made public include an immediate reduction in print pagination; staff furloughing to comply with government and expert advisories on social distancing; the temporary shutdown of the sports newspaper; and significant financial reengineering.

“All projections point at a bleak and uncertain future for the media industry and the economy. Notwithstanding, the company’s commitment to the welfare of its staff remains cardinal, hence, the decision to pay 100% salaries in the month of April and fulfil all annual leave obligations, despite the dip in revenues. All staff, including our colleagues, asked to stay away from work in April, have been paid their full salaries.”

But does that mean the workers should not expect full salaries in the month of May?

“Considering the fact on the ground and the body movement of the board, full salaries may not be paid in May and some people, especially in the newsroom, would be forced to resign.

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“The management has started from the Sports desk and would soon move to other desks. The idea is to concentrate more on the online version of the platform and start a significant financial re-engineering,” a source in the company told Nairametrics.

The Nation and Punch Newspapers are not the only firms that have either slashed salaries or dismissed staff. While Tribune Newspaper reduced pages from 46 to 32, and slashed salaries between 10 and 35% depending on the level of the staff, BusinessDay also reduced the pages of its Monday editions, which is its major product, from 65 to 32, and New Telegraph dropped pages from 48 to 32 among others.

In the broadcast sub-sector of the industry, the workers of AIM Group, owners of Nigeria Info, Cool FM, Wazobia and Arewa, have to swallow the bitter pills too.

While trying to ensure that the majority of its staff are retained, the group had no choice but to let some of the staff embark on unpaid leave.

The Head, Human Resources of the Group, Oyinkan Adeniyi, in an internal memo seen by Nairametrics,  said:

The Management of AIM Group has had to weigh a lot of options that can be taken during this trying times to minimize the negative impact the pandemic has had on our operations, ensure the majority of our staff are retained while still meeting up with financial obligations to you our highly esteemed employees, suppliers and other stakeholders.

“We have reached a very difficult position of placing all staff who are currently at home, not working since the commencement and who will not be working now that skeletal services will be commencing on a Furlough (unpaid leave) until things normalize. This means that while staff who are home now and not working remain our staff, they will not be paid salaries for the period not worked and until they are recalled back to the office.”

How long it will take the media organizations to rebound, and re-engage their employees to work optimally, depends on how early the nation survives COVID-19 or how soon the Federal Government offers bail-out to operators in the industry. Though, the bail-out option may be a tall order, stakeholders are optimistic that the industry may soon be out of the woods.

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