Summary of the top business, economic and political news in Nigeria today.
- The Federal Government on Tuesday, disclosed that the current economic recession will end in 18 months. To achieve this, it has called on the private sector to partner with it. This was as it disclosed that the 2018 budget will be ready in October this year. Link
- There is something to cheer for bank customers travelling abroad. Commercial banks have raised customers’ international dollar spending limit on overseas Point of Sale (PoS) and online card transactions by 900 per cent, it was learnt yesterday. Link
- Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has said that the country will be self sufficient in rice production by November, which he said will force a reduction in the price of the commodity. Link
- The Federal Executive Council, FEC, has approved N2.7 trillion for payment of the federal government’s discounted obligations. The money consists of N740 billion of outstanding pensions and promotional salary arrears (not discounted) and N1.93 trillion (discounted) of other obligations including dues to federal government contractors and suppliers. Link
- Power generation companies in the country have insisted that the Federal Government must increase electricity tariff. Link
- The Federal Government on Tuesday announced plans to establish truck transit parks in five states so as to decongest the two major seaports located in Lagos and Port Harcourt. The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi noted that the five truck transit parks would be established in Kogi, Kwara, Ogun, Enugu and Lagos states. Link
- Nigeria plans to issue 204.95 billion naira ($651.7 mln) in treasury bills at an auction on July 19, the central bank said. The bank aims to raise 36.78 billion naira in three-month bills, 39.17 billion naira in six-month paper and 129 billion naira in one-year bills. Link
- Despite several efforts by the Federal Government to cushion the effects of recession on the economy, recent figures from the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) have shown that about 196 manufacturing companies shut down their operations in the last two years due to the biting recession. This represents over 300 per cent increase compared to 45 companies reported to have closed down last year in the first year of the present administration. Link
- The Debt Management Office is planning to use $483.4m to service the country’s foreign loans over a 10-year period and make repayments starting from next year as the country’s dollar debts begin to mature. According to the DMO annual report, the agency projects debt service repayments to amount to a total of $4.47bn to be made in 2018, 2021 and 2023. Link
- The National Insurance Commission has said that it will tackle the issue of rate-cutting on insurance premiums by operators in the industry and apply appropriate sanctions on perpetrators of the act. Link
- The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that hawking, mutilation and spraying of naira notes at parties constitute an affront to the nation. CBN’s acting Director, Corporate Communications, Mr Isaac Okorafor, said that under no circumstance should the naira be squeezed or reduced to a piece of paper for writing or jotting. Link
- At least N5 billion was lost by stakeholders to yesterday’s shut down of port operations across the country by aggrieved ports’ workers, led by officials of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, and Senior Staff Association of Communication, Transportation and Corporation, SSACTAC, Maritime branch. The shut-down was a protest against moves by National Assembly to repeal the NPA Act, which the workers described as anti-Nigeria. Investigations revealed that Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, alone lost over N2 billion to the disruption, while NPA, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, importers, and other operators in the ports were estimated to have lost between N2.5 billion and N3 billion. Link
- A modern contraceptive rate of 27 per cent among all women by 2017 has been announced just as Nigeria pledges additional $4.3 million for procurement of contraceptives. Link
- Rig owners in Nigeria have tasked the Federal Government to implement the alternative funding stream for joint venture operations it approved in November last year. Link
- The Nigeria Customs Service, Tin-Can Island Command, Lagos, has generated N130 billion between January and June, 2017. The Public Relations Officer of the command, Mr Uche Ejesieme, said the command recorded N19.83 billion in January; N21 billion in February; N20.95 billion in March and N20.31 billion in April. He added that in May and June, the command collected N23.87 billion and N23.97 billion. Link
- Nigeria’s Dangote Cement plans to invest about $4 billion in the next two to three years to nearly double its production capacity in Africa, a senior executive told Reuters on Tuesday. Link
- British insurer Prudential said it had bought a majority stake in Nigeria’s Zenith Life to give it access to the African country’s fast-growing insurance market. It said it had also signed a deal with the Nigerian insurer’s parent Zenith Bank Plc to sell life and other insurance products via the bank in Nigeria and Ghana. Link
- The management of NASD Securities Exchange has started moves to get Ashaka Cement Plc listed on its platform barely one week after the cement manufacturing firm was delisted from the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). Link
- Etisalat Nigeria on Monday said it had commenced the paperwork to raise fresh capital to bolster its operations. Link
- The Bank of Industry (BOI) plans to inject N1trillion into the Nigerian economy through collaboration with financial institutions in the country and development institutions in Africa. The Managing Director of BOI, Mr. Olukayode Pitan said the synergy was to further deepen the bank’s involvement in the development of the economy as well as providing necessary impetus in revitalising key sectors that have been stressed by the global economic downslide. Link
- Industrial And General Insurance Plc (IGI) has announced the appointment of a new management to be led by Bayo Folayan, who was named the Acting Managing Director. In a statement by the Head, Corporate Communication of the firm, Steve Ilo, the appointment is in line with the company’s restructuring programme aimed at repositioning it for optimum performance. Link
- Diamond Bank Plc plans to sell some of its non-core assets as part of strategy to beef up its capital in the short to medium term. According to the bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Uzoma Dozie, the bank has adequate capital presently, and is not opening “new brick and mortar branches anymore which naturally requires deployment of capital.” Link
- Ecobank, has been named Best Digital Bank in Africa at the Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2017 held at the Tower of London while Ecobank Ghana was recognized as the Best Bank in Ghana. Link
- The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) has said that out of its 1,027 housing units being constructed, 177 have been completed for workers in the FCT to access through the Federal Integrated Housing Scheme (FISH). Link
- The Executive Director, Investments, Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Ltd, Mr. Oladele Sotubo, on Wednesday said the company has paid the sum of N270bn to retirees since 2006 when it commenced operations. Link
- Information obtained has indicated that Shell Nigeria, the operator of Bonny export terminal, has placed limits on the export of Bonny Light, Nigeria’s premium crude oil. A source close to the company and shipping schedule, has disclosed that the peg was due to the Trans Forcados pipeline which resumed exports last month after months of shutdown. Link
- A group known as Movement For Relocation of ExxonMobil Headquarters to Akwa Ibom State has launched an online petition against ExxonMobil to relocate its headoffice to Akwa Ibom State. Link
- Katsina State Government has spent N6 billion on flood control projects in 2017, the state Commissioner for Lands and Survey, Abubakar Ilu, said in Katsina on Wednesday. Link
UACN’s major shareholder sells substantial shares
This is coming a few days after UAC Nigeria Plc announced a deal to divest 51% of its shares in UPDC.
One of the 3 major shareholders of UAC Nigeria Plc (UACN), Blakeney LLP, has substantially reduced its stakes in the conglomerate with the sale of 80 million additional shares.
This was disclosed in a notification that was sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) by UAC Nigeria Plc. The notification was signed by the Company Secretary/Legal Adviser, Godwin Samuel.
Note that this is coming a few days after UAC Nigeria Plc announced a deal to divest 51% of its shares in UACN Petroleum Development Company (UPDC) to Custodian Investment Plc.
An analysis of this current sales and reduction of its stake shows that Blakeney LLP reduced its shareholding in the conglomerate through a deal on August 5, at a price of N5.75 per share. A further breakdown of the transactions shows that the 80,000,000 units were sold at N5.75 amounting to N460 million in purchase consideration.
Back Story: It can be recalled that UACN had earlier sent notifications to the NSE announcing sales of 75 million shares by Blakeney between the months of April and June
- In an earlier notification sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange and other stakeholders in February 2019, UAC of Nigeria Plc announced the emergence of three major shareholders with more than 5% stake in the company. The three major shareholders include Themis Capital Management (8.08%), Stanbic IBTC Nominees Limited (7.27%), Blakeney GP 111 Ltd (7.55%).
- Nigeria’s oldest conglomerate has gone through some major restructuring in recent times following investments by these core investors and other major shareholders. In September 2019, UACN announced the outright dissolution of its interest and restructuring of UAC Property Development Company (UPDC) with the transfer of its interest directly to the shareholders.
- Over the years, UACN has transformed from a very large conglomerate with footprints in different sectors of the economy to a leaner organization with interest in Manufacturing, Food & Beverage, Logistics, Agro-allied Industry, Paints and Chemicals.
- Blakeney Management is one of the oldest and largest institutional investors in Africa and the Middle East. They are based in London and have been managing funds since 1995 for some of the largest institutions in the world.
AXA Mansard insurance divests from AXA Mansard pension as new owner emerges
This disclosure was made in a notification that was sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
AXA Mansard Insurance Plc has announced its divestment from its subsidiary, AXA Mansard Pension Limited, after agreeing to sell its stake to Eustacia Limited, a member of the Verod Group.
This is part of the insurance firm’s plan to focus on and grow its insurance businesses across all parts of the country.
This disclosure was made in a notification that was sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on August 8, 2020, by AXA Mansard Insurance Plc and signed by its Company Secretary, Mrs Omowunmi Mabel Adewusi.
AXA Mansard Insurance disclosed that Eustacia Limited was selected as the preferred bidder, after the completion of a bid process. AXA Mansard along with the minority shareholder agreed to sell the entire issued ordinary share capital of AXA Mansard Pensions comprising of 60% shareholding (2,067,672,000 shares) held by AXA Mansard Insurance Plc and 40% shareholding (1,378,448,000 shares) held by the minority shareholder.
The statement from AXA Mansard Insurance reads, ‘’AXA Mansard Insurance Plc announces the divestment from its subsidiary, AXA Mansard Pensions Limited. After obtaining the Shareholder’s approval at the Company’s Extra-Ordinary General Meeting held on the 13th of February 2020, the Company commenced the process of divestment by appointing Messer Rand Merchant Bank as the Financial Advisers while Aluko & Oyebode acted as the Legal Advisers on the transaction.’’
‘’Upon completion of a bid process, Eustacia Limited (a member of the Verod Group) was selected as the preferred bidder. The Company along with the minority Shareholder entered into a sale and purchase agreement with Eustacia Limited to divest the entire issued ordinary share capital of AXA Mansard Pensions comprising of 60% shareholding (2,067,672,000 shares) held by AXA Mansard Insurance Plc and 40% shareholding (1,378,448,000 shares) held by the minority shareholder.’’
The insurance firm, also in its statement said that the divestment has received letters of no objection from the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), National Pension Commission (PENCOM) and the Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC).
It should be noted that the completion of the divestment is, however, subject to the receipt of the final approval of the National Pension Commission.
In his reaction, the CEO of AXA Mansard Insurance Plc, Kunle Ahmed, said that this transaction marks a new step in the insurance firm’s broader strategy to focus on and grow their life, property & casualty and health businesses across all its geographies. He said that the AXA Group sees great potential in the Nigerian insurance market and believes they are ideally placed to capture these opportunities due to its market leadership position.
On his part, the CEO of AXA Mansard Pension Limited said that they are confident about Verod’s strong commitment to providing the company with the requisite support to actualize their promise to its clients and stakeholders.
A partner at Verod Group, the new owners, Eric Idiahi, said, ‘’We strongly believe that this is the ideal time to enter the market and that AXA Mansard Pensions provides an excellent beachhead from which to establish a consolidated position and gain market share.’’
Nairametrics reported early this year that AXA Mansard Insurance Plc announced that its shareholders have approved the company’s plan to sell its pension management subsidiary, AXA Mansard Pensions Ltd and some undisclosed real estate investments.
Africa’s largest telecoms firm, MTN, to divest from its Middle East operations
The MTN Group is in advanced talks to sell its stake in MTN Syria to the minority shareholder.
Africa’s largest telecoms firm, the MTN Group, has announced its plans to exit the Middle East. This is part of the wireless carrier’s strategic plan to shift focus entirely to its home continent, Africa.
The mobile operator said that as part of its medium-term strategy, it will be leaving the Middle East, starting with the sales of its 75% stake in MTN Syria. Overly reduced revenue from war-torn Syria and the complex nature of the operating environment in the country are part of the reasons MTN is divesting.
MTN’s Chief Executive Officer, Rob Shuter, noted during a conference call with reporters, that “the Middle East environment is becoming increasingly complex and it contributes less to the group’s earnings.’’
Shuter disclosed that the disposals in the Middle East region will be done in a phased manner, with its 3 consolidated subsidiaries in Yemen, Afghanistan, and Syria earmarked to be sold first. These markets only contribute about 4% to the group’s earnings before interest, depreciation, taxation, and amortization.
The MTN Group is in advanced talks to sell its stake in MTN Syria to the minority shareholder, TeleInvest, who has 25% stake in the firm, according to the CEO. He believes that the telecoms firm is better served to focus on its Pan-African strategy and simplify its portfolio by leaving the Middle East region in an orderly manner.
In the medium term, the group will also dispose of its 49% stake in MTN Irancell, one of its largest markets.
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The South African firm plans to exit the entire portfolio in time, which will then leave it with 17 subsidiaries in Africa.
Just yesterday, Nairametrics reported about MTN’s plan to sell its stake in Jumia Technologies. MTN will also be divesting from telecommunications infrastructure firm, IHS Towers. The divestments from Jumia and IHS Towers were informed by the decision to raise funds in order to reduce MTN’s debts. It will also help the company to refocus its operations.