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AMCON block sale of shares in Niger Insurance linked to Imo State Gov, Owelle Rochas Okorocha

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According to the Nigeria Stock Exchange’s (NSE) X-compliance report for August 2017, AMCON executed a block divestment of its stake in Niger Insurance Plc amounting to 724.3 million shares in favour of Etha Ventures Limited at 0.54 kobo per share. Approval for the deal was granted by the NSE on the 21st of March 2017 with Fundvine Capital and Securities Limited acting as the stockbroker for the deal.

Who is Etha Ventures

Data from the financial statements of Niger Insurance for the year ended December 2016, showed that Niger Insurance had outstanding shares of 7,739,495,702 shares. This makes the deal a significant one as the new owner now holds 9.3% of the issued share capital of the insurance firm.

Nairametrics attempted to find out who the new owner of this significant stake was. A simple internet search yielded results that were linked to the current Imo state governor Rochas Okorocha. One search result which extensively and comprehensively detailed his credentials along with his many business interests as a form of due diligence on him in anticipation of the 2011 Gubernatorial elections, listed him as being the founder of numerous organizations, including Etha Ventures Limited. This information was culled from his CV hosted on the website www.rochasokorocha.org, which has since become defunct.

Piqued by this, more search was conducted. This led to the obtainment of a document that was published on 9th March 2015 by a financial services consulting company, further showing Owelle Rochas Okorocha as the contact person for Etha Ventures Limited, –one of its clients

Not satisfied with these results, we carried out a company search at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to find out who the directors and major shareholders of Etha Ventures Ltd are. At the first attempt, the Company’s file wasn’t found in the registry. We were told that the reasons for this could be any of the following: that another lawyer made a request for the file; the company is in caution (meaning the company is under litigation); or amendments are being made to the directors or shareholders; or it is simply lost. A search on the CAC online data base showed that the company was registered on the 20th of October 2000 with its registered address in Abuja, FCT.

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Why is this significant?

This raises a number of concerns, chief of which is the clandestine nature of the transaction behind both AMCON’s involvement in Niger Insurance, and the subsequent sale its stake, ostensibly to a politically exposed individual or organization. The block sale was not reported in the regular corporate disclosure section of the NSE but contained in an inconspicuous corner of the X-compliance report. Furthermore, the lack of visibility in the new investors raises a potential red flag that existing or future shareholders would want to take note of.

Etha Ventures’ 9.3% stake is a significant one, and existing shareholders and analysts would want to understand what this investor brings to the table. What is its strategic strength, its experience in this line of business, and its competence? Is any long-term strategic game in play? It would be interesting to find out. Further, what would be the impact of this on the company’s corporate governance? Would it deteriorate? If it deteriorates, it diminishes the company’s future prospects as an acquisition target.

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Also important to add that the Imo State Governor is currently embroiled in a political controversy over the demolition of a popular market in the state capital and has also been severally criticised for his handling of the state’s pensioners.

AMCON sale transparent?

Disregarding the fact that Rochas may be a bit cozy with some of AMCON’S directors, AMCON has a mandate to dispose the assets it acquired from bank defaulters at the best possible price, giving due consideration for the prevailing market condition. A violation of this overarching guiding principle (i.e. disposing such assets for less than it would fetch at the market would be a red flag).

The asset in question, Niger Insurance shares, was sold for N0.54, 4 kobo or 8% higher than its price at the open market. This is a fair deal from AMCON’s perspective. We don’t know if the asset was bid for by multiple bidders, but if it was, there should naturally be no concerns of partiality or preference for a particular buyer because any other buyer could simply go to the market to purchase the stock, except there isn’t a sufficient amount of its shares on the market. 54 percent (4,238,218,840) shares belong to retail investors.

Niger Insurance currently list Chrome Oil, a company owned by another close associate of Rochas, Emeka Offor as the highest shareholder with about 2,122,015,587  or 27% of the shares of the company.

 

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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 [email protected]

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Companies

We have exported 7 clinker vessels to other African countries since June – Dangote Cement

Dangote Cement says it has exported 7 clinker vessels to other African countries since June.

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Dangote Cement reveals share buyback plans, DANGOTE CEMENT records loses as ASI decline by 0.39%

The Group Executive Director of Dangote Cement, Michel Pucheros, announced that Dangote Cement, Africa’s leading cement producer with nearly 48.6Mta (Million Metric Tonnes Annually) capacity across Africa, has exported 7 clinker vessels to date to other African countries.

This statement was disclosed by Mr. Pucheros in a press release issued on the Group’s performance in the third quarter.

  • The cement maker exported 2 vessels of clinker per month to Cameroon in the third quarter of 2020 via the Apapa export terminal, which takes the Group’s clinker export for the quarter to 6 vessels.
  • In addition to its maiden shipment vessel to Senegal, which is a total of 27.8Kt of clinker, took its clinker exports to other African countries from June to date to 7 vessels.

In his statement, Mr. Pucheros said, “We continue to focus on our export strategy and are on track to ensure West and Central Africa become cement and clinker independent, with Nigeria as the main supply hub.

“Clinker exports have steadily been ramping up in Q3 after our maiden shipment in June 2020, whilst land exports have also resumed.”

However, as the Group ramp-up production across all segments and regions to reach its cement production and bagging capacity of 48.55 Mta, he said,

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“Dangote Cement’s strategy to offer high-quality products at competitive prices is meeting customers’ expectations in Nigeria and across the continent, where we continue to deploy excellent marketing initiatives and operational excellence across the continent.”

About Clinker

  • Clinker is a nodular material which is used as the binder in cement products. Clinker is produced inside the kiln during the cement manufacturing process.
  • The primary use of clinker is to manufacture cement, as cement is produced by grinding clinker.

What you should know

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Nairametrics had reported that Dangote Cement Acting CFO, Guillaume Moyen, during a virtual event in September disclosed that the cement producer is set to commence clinker export to other African countries within the next few weeks.

He reiterated that the Management of the company is on course to sell more clinker across West Africa, and commence shipment to Central Africa in H2 2020.

Why it matters

The export of clinker to countries where limestones are not available in huge quantities gives these countries a chance to produce its cement for construction purposes.

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Companies

Airtel Africa to sell its 4,500 tower assets to cut down $3.5 billion debts

Airtel Africa has concluded plans to sell about 4,500 telecommunication towers across 5 countries.

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Airtel partners Western Union to expand its own mobile money service , Airtel loses over 100,000 subscribers in one month as Glo chases MTN's market share cvf

Airtel Africa Plc – the parent company of Airtel Nigeria Plc, has concluded plans to sell about 4,500 telecommunication towers across 5 countries including Tanzania and Madagascar to help reduce $3.5 billion of debt and prepare for looming bond repayments.

Africa’s second-largest carrier by subscribers, with headquarters in London, is also disposing of cellular masts in Gabon, Malawi, and Chad.

READ: FG set to provide interest-free loans and agricultural inputs to farmers

This disclosure was made by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Airtel Africa Plc, Raghunath Mandava, during an interview.

Mandava said, “We are constantly seeking to bring down our debt, and we prefer to bring it down even faster with the tower deals.’

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According to the annual report of the telecoms firm, Airtel has a repayment of 750 million euros ($890 million) due in May, while an installment of $505 million is due in March 2023.

READ: UACN of Nigeria Plc records 10.49% increase in 2020 Q3 revenues

The CEO pointed out that the company, which was spun off from India’s Bharti Airtel Ltd last year and is listed on the London Stock Exchange and the Nigeria Stock Exchange, used the proceeds of the dual Initial Public Offering (IPO) to help reduce its debts to $3.5 billion from about $7.7 billion. The outstanding balance includes $1.8 billion of bonds that have cross-default clauses, with Bharti Airtel still its biggest shareholder.

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However, Mandava disclosed that Airtel Africa Plc plans to lease back the towers from the successful buyers.

READ: Total Nigeria Plc records 344% rise in PAT for Q3 2020

The stock has declined by 18% since the June 2019 IPO, valuing the company at 2.4 billion pounds ($3.1 billion).

A number of the continent’s wireless carriers have been selling similar tower assets to specialist operators, opting to save on maintenance costs, allay security concerns, and bypass shortfalls in power and road infrastructure.

READ: Analysis: Is this a Lafarge rebirth?

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What you should know

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Nairametrics had reported that its competitor, MTN Group, plans to sell its 29% stake in IHS Towers, a telecoms infrastructure and service provider. The African biggest carrier also generated about $812 million in assets that included sales of its tower holdings in Ghana and Uganda to American Towers Inc.

Meanwhile, the need for additional masts in Africa is increasing, as millions more adopt smartphones and faster broadband is needed.

READ: Increase in local sales drives Wamco Plc revenue to N150.6 billion in 9M 2020

The CEO also said that many of Airtel Africa’s 14 markets border each other, making it easier to roll out fibre even during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company has added 9,000 kilometres (5,592 miles) of cable this year, bringing the total to 47,000 kilometres.

He said, “Our focus is to grow in the countries that we are in.’’

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Companies

Nestle Nigeria to pay interim dividend of over N19 billion to shareholders

The interim dividend will be paid on or before December 11, 2020 to shareholders whose names appear on the Register as at 7th December 2020.

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Why Nestle Nigeria’s return remains strong - EFG Hermes, Nestle Nigeria Plc appoints new Director, Nestle Plc: FY 2019 Revenue beats estimate; but profit underperforms, GTB, Zenith Bank, & Nestle emerge as Renaissance Capital’s top stock picks, Nestlé’s parent company acquires additional shares worth ₦300 million

One of the largest food and beverage companies in Africa, Nestle Nigeria Plc, has announced the payment of a total ₦19.81 billion as interim dividend to its shareholders.

The company is expected to pay an Interim dividend of N25 per share will be paid for all the outstanding 792,656,252 ordinary shares of the company. This equals N19.18 billion.

READ: Nestlé S.A buys additional shares of Nestlé Nigeria worth N287 million

This information is contained in a notification which was signed by the Company’s Secretary, Bode Ayeku, and sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange today.

The notification partly reads:

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An Interim Dividend of N25.00 per 50 kobo ordinary share, subject to appropriate withholding tax will be to the shareholders whose names appear on the Register of Members as at the close of business on 20 November.”

READ: Unit holders earn N1.5 billion from UPDC REIT

What you should know

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  • The Interim dividend of N25 per share will be paid for all the outstanding 792,656,252 ordinary shares of the company owned by the shareholders of the leading telecommunications company. This gives a total interim dividend of ₦19,816,406,300.00, to be distributed to the shareholders of the company.
  • To enable Greenwich Registrars & Data Solutions, Nestle’s Registrar, prepare for the payment of interim dividend, the Register of Shareholders will be closed from 23 – 27 November 2020.
  • The interim dividend will be paid electronically to shareholders whose names appear on the Register of Members as of 20th November 2020, on or around 7th December, 2020.
  • Shareholders who are yet to complete the e-dividend registration are advised to download the Registrar’s E-dividend Mandate Activation Form, complete and submit to their respective banks.
  • Shareholders with dividend warrants and share certificates that have remained unclaimed, are yet to be presented for payment, or returned for validation are advised to complete the e-dividend registration or contact the Registrars.

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