Tech firms all around the world have occupied an increasingly dominant space. Facebook and Whatsapp are used by billions of people around the world. Google is also equally ubiquitous. Their listing on stock exchanges have their founders and early investors billionaires.
Tech companies listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange have also performed poorly, with irregular dividend payments and poor price appreciation. Here is a look at tech firms listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and their performances in the last few years.
Year to date, no Nigerian tech firm has witnessed price appreciation or outperformed the NSE All-Share Index which is up 11.49% year to date.
Here are some select technology firms and a brief of their performance in Nigerian stock market.
Courteville Business Solutions Plc (formerly known as Courteville Investments)
The company became public in 2008 and was listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in April 2009. Its principal activities include automated business solutions such as the popular Autoreg and Egole online shopping mall.
2016 results were poor for the firm, with Courtville recording a loss, and skipping dividend payments.
The company’s fortunes have however improved going by the results for the 9 months ended, September 2017. Revenue increased slightly from N945 million in 2016 to ₦1 billion in 2017. Gross profit also increased from ₦397 million in 2016, to N457 million in 2017. Profit before tax also grew massively from ₦31.4 million in 2016 to ₦62 million in 2017; though, its share price down by 24%year to date.2017.
Courtville has however made a series of missteps, bluntly put due to poor application of funds. First was an expansion to Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe and Jamaica which have added very little to its bottom line.
Courtville shares have remained at the ₦0. 50 point for the larger part of the last 3 years, with a slight rally whenever the company pays dividends. The newly introduced ₦0.01 floor has led to a decline in the company’s share price to ₦0.38 per share in Friday’s trading session.
Next is the company’s investment in a real estate project in partnership with Synergy Capital. This came on the heels of its spending N1 billion on a new head office building in 2015
Chams Plc (the company) was incorporated as a limited liability company on September10, 1985, and became a public company on September 4, 2008. The company was listed on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange on September 8, 2008. Principal activities of Chams Plc and its subsidiaries (the group) include identity management, payment collections, and transactional systems.
Results for the 9 months ended, September 2017 show that administrative expenses continue to be a stumbling block. While revenue and gross earnings increased, a spike in administrative expenses caused Chams (the group) to record a loss. Chams had a gross profit of ₦629 million and other operating income of ₦ 122 million. Administrative expenses of Nn906 million led to a loss before tax of ₦161 million.
Chams recorded a loss before tax of ₦1.4 billion for the 12 months ended, December 2016. In the prior year, it also recorded a loss before tax of ₦3.3 billion. 2017 could thus end up being the third consecutive year of losses for the firm.
In terms of share price, the stock has remained at the 50 kobo floor for the past few years, with the removal of the 50 kobo floor causing it to fall to 48 kobo. Year to date, the share price is down by 4%.
Chams was also badly affected by the cancellation of a contract it had with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC). The company raised ₦9.2 billion comprising ₦8.4 billion from shareholders and ₦800 million from its internally generated funds. Halfway through the tenure of the concession, it was cancelled and the company was forced to write off its expenses.
Omatek commenced operations in 1988 as a limited liability company in Nigeria in 1988. It was converted into a public company in 2008 and its name was subsequently amended to reflect its current status as a public company. The company’s shares are quoted and traded on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
The group has interests in subsidiaries and associates involved in manufacturing, distribution, selling and servicing of computer equipment and also provides engineering services.
Omatek’s most recent results submitted to the NSE are for the year ended, 2013 show that the company had a turnover of ₦1 billion and total comprehensive income of ₦182 million.
The company’s woes were compounded by the death of its founder, Florence Seriki, last year.
The company’s share price has shown no appreciation year to date.
E-tranzact was incorporated as a private limited liability company in 2003 and became a public limited liability company in 2009. The company is an electronic payment processor and also provides software development services.
While E-tranzact has fared much better compared to other firms in the ICT sector, the company could end up making a loss in 2017. Results for the 9 months ended, September 2017 show that the company made a loss before tax of ₦6 million, compared to a profit before tax of ₦254 million made during the comparative period in 2017.
This could lead to a third consecutive year of declining profits. Profit after tax for the firm fell from ₦704 million in the 12 months ended, December 2015 to ₦447 million in December 2016.
A Key driver behind the poor result was the spike in the cost of sales. Cost of sales moved from ₦1.8 billion in 2016 to ₦2.4 billion in 2017.
Another red flag in the result was the huge spike in receivables from ₦853 million in 2016 to ₦1.1 billion. Other debts, in particular, rose from N233 million to ₦433 million. Staff debts also rose from ₦43.1 million in 2016 to ₦211 million in 2017.
Share price is down by 5% year to date.
Computer Warehouse Group (CWG) Plc
Computer Warehouse Group was established on September 26, 1992, with an initial focus on hardware services. In 2005, CWG Plc was established to coordinate and monitor the activities of other subsidiaries which were into the provision of VSAT and software services respectively. CWG Plc went public in February 2013 and was listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange on the 15th of November 15, 2013.
CWG’s activities are currently divided into 5 divisions: cloud services, software services, managed services, IT infrastructure and training.
CWG has had a mixed performance since listing on the NSE. Turnover has declined from ₦20.3 billion in 2013 to ₦8.5 billion in 2016. Profit before tax has fallen from ₦632 million in 2013 to ₦32 million in 2016. The company last paid a dividend of ₦0.02 for the 2014 financial year.
In terms of share price appreciation, CWG has also lagged. From a listing price of ₦5.48, the company’s share price has nose-dived to ₦2.54.It has shown no appreciation year to date.
Tripple Gee Plc
Tripple Gee Plc is one of Nigeria’s oldest IT companies, having been incorporated in 1980. The company was converted to a public limited liability company in 1991 and listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Principal activities of the company include the production of security documents and financial instruments.
Closely held by its founding shareholders, Tripple Gee has had a continuous decline in both revenue and profit over the last 5 year years. Revenue slid from N1 billion in 2013 to N601 million in 2017. Profit before tax hit a high of N53 million in 2015 and dropped to N15 million in 2017.
Tripple Gee’s core market, which is the production of cheques, has taken a hit with the advent of online banking. Year to date, the share price is down by 13.21%.
NCR commenced operations on 9th December 9, 1949, under the name National Cash Register Company (West Africa) Limited. It underwent a name change to NCR (Nigeria) Limited in 1974 and was listed on the NSE on the 30th of May 30, 1979.
NCR is a subsidiary of NCR Corporation (NY) which owns 61.76% of its share capital. The company’s core activities include the sales and service of several ICT solutions including ATMs machines, Interactive Teller Machines, and Point of Service (POS) machines.
NCR has had a solid record of profitability in the last 5 years. Revenue has grown from ₦6.4 billion in 2013 to ₦7.0 billion in 2016. From a loss before tax of ₦1.1 billion in 2013 and ₦66 million in 2014, profits have consistently grown from ₦214 million in 2014 to ₦326 million in 2016.
2017 has been a difficult year for the company, largely due to foreign exchange losses. This led to a loss before tax of ₦215 million for the 9 months ended September 2017, compared to the profit before tax of ₦615 million made in the corresponding period of 2016. Year to date, its share prices have shown no appreciation.
Companies in the tech space have largely struggled due to unstable government policies (as seen with Chams and to an extent System specs) and a tough macroeconomic environment. Exchange rate instability, for example, has led to CWG Plc declining jobs that require large foreign exchange inputs.
The government has also failed to patronize indigenous ICT firms, which would have led to the private sector to do same.
Tech firms also require a long gestation period before coming profitable. Listing on an exchange is primarily a means of exit for most investors. The stock market here remains quite shallow to raise the required capital they need for operations, seeing that they have no track record.
NB Plc’s share price and dividends keeping shareholders happy
It was not all hunky-dory for the company as its cost of sales jumped from N48.3 billion in Q1 2020 to N66 billion in Q1 2021.
Nigerian Breweries Plc (“NB Plc” or the “Company”) reported its first-quarter (Q1) 2021 results on April 23, 2021.
The company’s performance was impressive considering the headwinds it faced late in 2020 and early 2021 from inflationary pressures, poor consumer purchasing power, lethargic economic growth, and increase in the company’s beer prices which took effect from Q4 2020.
The company achieved a net revenue for the three months to March 31, 2021 of N105.68 billion compared to N83.23 billion for the same period to March 31, 2020 — a 27% increase compared to the Q1 2020 results.
It also achieved a N39.67 billion gross profit — a 13.7% increase in gross profit compared to Q1 2020.
Quarter-on-quarter EBITDA rose by 22.8% from N19.82 billion in Q1 2020 to N24.34 billion in Q1 2021. Other positive outcomes quarter on quarter were the increase in operating income (from N10.94 billion to N14.49 billion), profit before tax (from N8.3 billion to N11.51 billion), and profit after tax (from N5.53 billion to N7.66 billion).
It was not all hunky-dory for the company as its cost of sales (direct costs attributable to NB Plc’s production) jumped from N48.3 billion in Q1 2020 to N66 billion in Q1 2021, an increase of N17.7 billion. According to the company, its costs are subject to seasonal fluctuations as a result of weather conditions and festivities. As a result, the company’s results and volumes are dependent on the performance in the peak‐selling season, typically resulting in higher revenue and profitability in the last quarter of the year.
The total cost of sales, marketing and distribution, and administration expenses grew from N72.47 billion in Q1 2020 to N91.63 billion in Q1 2021 – a jump of 26.43%. This jump was largely attributable to the cost of raw materials and consumables which grew to N46.53 billion (compared to N30.2 billion for the same period in Q1 2020).
The raw materials cost pressure has been a trend since Q2 2020 driven by the rising commodity prices, foreign exchange devaluation and domestic inflationary pressures. As a result, the cost of the raw materials to net income ratio has continued to rise. This ratio was 36.3% in Q1 2020 but has risen to 44% in Q1 2021.
What may be a source of particular concern for the company is how well working capital is being managed from a liquidity and leverage perspective. The company reported cash and cash equivalents of N30.37 billion in Q1 2020, this had dropped to N18.43 billion by Q1 2021. In the same period, trade debtors and other receivables (i.e., those that owe the company for purchases that have not been paid for) had increased from N11.42 billion in Q1 2020 to N23.48 billion in Q1 2021, an increase of over 105% in just 12 months!
More worrying, in terms of magnitude, are trade creditors and other payables (i.e., those that the company owes payments for goods and services purchased) which grew from N139.2 billion in Q1 2020 to N145.41 billion in Q1 2021, a rise of N6.21 billion (or 4.5%) in just 12 months.
While the company’s loans and borrowings had reduced significantly (short-term loans in Q1 2021 was N35.65 billion versus N39.64 billion in Q1 2020; and long-term loans in Q1 2021 was N15.87 billion versus N51,81 billion in Q1 2020), the cost of borrowing, that is, interest expenses that the company paid on borrowed funds, rose from N2.7 billion in Q1 2020 to N3 billion in Q1 2021. This suggests that while short term and long-term borrowing have reduced, working capital needs are being refinanced at a higher cost or alternatively, most of the reduced short term or long-term borrowings have simply been restructured from longer-term loans to shorter-term overdrafts and commercial papers with a higher interest expense. The balance sheet as of Q1 2021 showed a liability in the form of bank overdraft and/or commercial papers of N21.44 billion which was not in the books in Q1 2020.
The first-quarter report also showed that as of March 31, 2021, the company had revolving credit facilities with five Nigerian banks to finance its working capital with the approved limit of the loan with each of the banks ranging from N6 billion to N15 billion (total N66 billion). N9 billion of the available amount was utilized at end of March 2021 (2020: Nil).
It should be noted that NB Plc’s financial statements for the 3 months ended 31st March 2021 are yet to be independently audited, so the results may be further improved or be worse, depending on the views and professional opinion of the external auditors in terms of accounting treatments and management judgement on significant transactions.
From the company’s numbers and explanations, the results are clearly driven by:
(1) Benefits from its increased pricing with the raised prices taking effect from December 10, 2020. The increases ranged from 5.2% to 6%, mainly on selected brands packaged in aluminium cans and on the 600-ml Star Larger returnable glass bottle.
(2) Volume growth in its premium brands (particularly Heineken) and non-alcoholic portfolio (particularly Maltina).
(3) Relative inelastic demand for its portfolio mix despite price increases, availability of substitutes, and stagnate consumer wages eroded by inflation. In economics, inelastic demand occurs when the demand for a product remains static or changes less than changes in price.
Overall, the company achieved outstanding results that would have confounded analysts’ estimates. Given continued inflationary trends and currency depreciation, it would be interesting to see whether turnover and profitability growth are sustainable over the remaining quarters of the year. On its financial year 2020 performance, the company paid a final dividend of NGN0.69 in April 2021 (interim of NGN0.25 paid in December 2020). If the trend is sustained, it can only be good news for NB Plc in terms of increases in its share price and dividends for its shareholders.
Heineken Brouwerijen B.V owns 37.73% of the company to which NB Plc pays annual technical service fees and royalties.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nairametrics | Company Earnings
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