This Corporate News Compilation for the week ended March 3rd, 2018 is brought to you by Bluechip Technology Ltd Nigeria.

1. Google announced last week that it has veered into the Jobs/Career listing Market.

Before you start to shudder, they revealed they will be working Job sites like Jobberman, NG Careers MyJobMag and other job resource websites in Nigeria to help optimize the service.According to Google, it will be introducing a new Jobs search function that allows job seekers to find employment opportunities.

Here is Google’s Country Manager Director, Juliet Chiazor on the development “Finding employment is still very difficult for many people. This new job search experience will help the millions of Nigerians searching for new opportunities. We believe that the web allows anyone, anywhere, of any age, to grow their business, learn the skills they need to get a job, to grow in their career, become an entrepreneur or developer. This new job search tool will be a key driver for connecting job seekers to open opportunities, helping more people to grow with Google.”‏

Google knows everything, even when you are jobless and looking for work. Incredible data these guys have on all of us.

2. If you are one of those guys looking to buy stocks of Facebook, Snapchat, Google then this next story should interest you. Eagle Global Markets (EGM), a Fintech company based in Lagos announced last week that it has “a seamless, hassle-free opportunity” for Nigerians “to trade on more than 1,000 global markets financial products, using the Naira.”

Yes, using Naira. According to its Co-Founder Gbite Oduneye, “We have two platforms: the ‘Naira Cloudtrade’ and then the US Dollar MT4, which is the only one other players in the industry offer to their clients. EGM makes the investing world a much smaller place by breaking down barriers, making it possible for Nigerians to trade more than 1000 financial products with Naira.”

Gbite also revealed that with the EGM platforms, investors and traders can trade on a wide range of instruments “ranging from international equities, commodities such as crude oil, gold and silver; indices, currency pairs and derivatives of global companies such as Facebook, Google and Snapchat, among others.”

I wonder who takes the exchange rate risk here? Interesting to note that this business model includes commissions on the trade, licensing for the software that you used for the trade and more importantly training. Sold business model if you ask me. Just mind the risk if you are an intending investor.

  1. Remember Vconnect? Ok just kidding. To be candid, I have always wondered what their business model is but this latest tie-up with True Caller was quite revealing.‏

Truecaller, last week announced a partnership with VConnect, which will see Truecaller integrate VConnect’s Business directory to its app. It claims this allows users to efficiently identify VConnect’s service providers.

This is not the first, as last year, True Caller also launched a product with VConnect that allows SME’s to quickly identify if a call is a potential prospect. Despite being Africa’s largest market, TrueCaller revealed it will be setting up headquarters in Nairobi and has recruited Zakaria Hersi as Director of Partnerships for Africa. Zakaria helped Swedish Investment firm Kinnevik, launch Saltside in Nigeria where he was the MD

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4. Safeonline Fintech announced last week that it has launched a product that will “save eCommerce in the country.”

In a quite convoluted press release, the Head of Product, Safeonline fintech, Abraham Ezeadiebuo, said the initial goal was to provide a seamless replenishment process for retail outlets selling basic amenities needed by the consumer populace.

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“It was to ensure only entities responsible for the movement of goods were left as the sole middlemen fostering direct relationship between Retailers and Manufacturers However, our solution provides a robust system that could effectively manage to split of funds across the numerous partners needed to ship goods and a trigger mechanism to confirm successful delivery to process compensation for the haulage operator in real-time.”

Standard chartered

I really struggled to understand what these guys are offering and wonder why press releases can’t be made simpler. If you do, kindly help. I also got a bit confused as the Safeonline I knew before now was a Digital Security outfit powered by CcHub and OSIWA.

5. Last week, the Central Bank of Nigeria issued a statement reiterating that cryptocurrencies are not a legal tender and as such are illegal.

This is the strongest against cryptocurrencies made this year from the CBN.‏ In a circular dated February 28th, 2018 and published on its website, the apex bank reiterated that “cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ripples, Monero, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Onecoin, etc and Exchanges such as NairaEx are not licensed or regulated by the CBN.”

Nairaex is a top Cryptocurrency exchange in Nigeria & is the number one marketplace for trading bitcoins in Nigeria. It’s unlikely this announcement will deter crypto investors in Nigeria but Nairaex will have to take this seriously if it wants to continue to operate in Nigeria. You do not want regulators beaming a searchlight on you. Nairaex is running by a company called Double JJ Enterprises. Not a lot is known about them publicly.

6. Farmcrowdy, “Nigeria’s first and leading digital agriculture platform” which allows Nigerians to venture in and sponsor agriculture, last week announced that it had received a $325,000 grant from dedicated GSMA global team Mobile for Development as part of the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund.

The award was granted at the Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona, Spain. The grant will allow the startup to develop a mobile app for smartphones and feature phones that will enable farmers and Technical Field Specialists interact with farm-related activities. We have discussed Farmcrowdy a few times on this thread.

Other recipients of the 2017 equity-free grant award include Nigerian e-learning platform PrepClass, Ugandan Fintech startup Ensibuuko and online payment platform LipaMobile, Tanzanian Micro-Health Insurance product Jammi Africa, Kenyan education mobile platform Kytabu and Optimetriks, Zambian Musanga Logistics, Egyptian Carpooling app Raye7 and multinational knowledge-based network, Lynk.

PrepClass is a home tutoring service that offers quick test-taking strategies and targeted examination practice for students. They also provide access to personal home tutors trained to meet your academic needs. It’s like an Uber for home tutoring. Startups are seriously picking cash in this economy, stay Woke!

7. So, we got more insights into the much awaited MTN Public Offer following a Reuters report. According to Reuters, who claimed they saw documents pertaining to the MTN listing and IPO, the company intends raising $400m from the IPO of its Nigerian subsidiary.

According to the report, MTN will list 20 billion shares after a 1 for 5 share split, following which it will then proceed to pick the IPO price through book building. Book building is a valuation approach where the price of a stock or security is determined by investors who table the price they want to buy the asset for and the quantity they want to purchase. The sum of all the orders and the value is then used to determine the average price.

MTN Nigeria has a current valuation of $5.2 billion, going by its current over the counter price of $13. I am not one of those who lust after IPO’s but this one might be quite tempting. MTN Nigeria could just be worth more than the parent company in a couple of years.

8. African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) revealed last week that it plans to sell shares in Nigeria and two other African countries to support lending and broaden its ownership base.

Afrexim revealed it was is in talks with Nigerian regulators to issue depositary receipts and raise equity worth $200m by the third quarter. Global depository receipts, give investors the ability to invest in a company, without having to bother with differences in tax and trading regulations.

The bank in November last year obtained a $200 million loan from a consortium of Japanese banks, followed. In 2016, shareholders of Afrexim Bank approved that they raise $1b in equity. This paved the way for the bank to add six new shareholders who were issued class B shares. They include Dangote Group, Seychelles Pension Fund, Econet Global Limited, Atlantic Financial Group.

ICYDK, Afrexim Bank loans are one of the most sought-after in Nigeria and indeed the continent. They are cheap, in dollars and have longer tenors. They are also very flexible with repayments. If you are looking for cheap debt funding and generate over N2b in revenues then Afrexim is probably a choice you should explore. BTW, their CEO DR Oramah is one of the most influential Nigerians in Financial Circles. He’s been at the top for over a decade now.

9. United Bank for Africa (UBA) and China Development Bank (CDB), the world’s largest development finance institution, last week announced the signing of a $100 million seven-year loan agreement to finance the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Africa.

The $100 million loan will enhance UBA’s capacity to provide access to finance to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across the 19 African countries where UBA currently operates.

This is a big deal for UBA as they expand their lending capabilities to SMEs not just in Nigeria but in Africa. I have always believed UBA was yet to fully benefit from its status as one of Africa’s local banks, considering its widespread. UBA is in about 20 African countries. A drawdown rate of at least 50% of these funds will be immense for the bank.

For China, this is just one aspect of their African expansion strategy. They leverage on their financial muscle to give its industries access to the African market where they can sell their technology.

10. Best Food Farms announced during the week that it had taken delivery of 20 units of Dizengoff greenhouse technology units which it believes will help to boost its vegetable production.

We understand Dizengoff is one of the best Greenhouse Farms products in Nigeria with production capacity estimated at 30 metric tonnes per-season.

Dizengoff is of German origin and is based on Nigeria. They produce the Greenhouse kits for farms in Nigeria to help grow their vegetables and also sell other technological products that aid farming. Greenhouse kits can cost as much as £7k or N3.5 million. Reports suggest demand for vegetables is put at over 2.3 million metric tonnes per year, with Nigeria only able to produce just about 1.8 million metric tonnes. Huge opportunity.

Best Foods is owned an run by the Ijewere Family. Former President of ICAN Emmanuel Ijewere is the chairman of the company. From what we gather, Best Foods is a household name when it comes to the supply of vegetables and associated products in Nigeria.‏

11. Ashaka Cement announced last week that it has joined the bandwagon of large-scale factories that have abandoned the national grid for independent power generation.‏

The company reported during the week that it has commenced the construction of a 16-megawatt power plant that is expected to be completed by 2019.

Here is the Managing Director, AshakaCem, Mr. Rabiu Umar explaining why they are going off-grid. “Last year, we started our power plant, which is a N11bn project, and we hope to inaugurate the project soon. Currently, we rely on generators for our operations, which consume much fuel and whether you are using diesel or petrol, it has a strong correlation to foreign exchange. So, we are helping to remove ourselves from the demand for energy and providing our own solution, which means a minimum of 16 megawatts of electricity will now become available to the public grid for the people in the region to enjoy from. The power plant is our biggest plan aimed at reducing our costs.”

The last sentence caught my attention. They are spending N11b to reduce cost. From our research, Ashaka spent about N95 million on Electricity in 2015. Important to add that it incurs a shared cost of about N1.6b with its Parent company which might include power cost.

But can it be more than an extra N200m per annum? Why then tie down N11b in cash in capex? What do I know? At N11 billion the power plant cost around $2,777/kw, a price range that falls within the region of renewables. Ashaka did not mention if it’s a gas, biomass, hydro, thermal etc. power plant.

12. So, Dangote revealed last week that it was extending its sponsorship partnership of CNN’s Marketplace Africa.

Dangote sponsors Profit Point, a segment within the weekly show which asks business leaders how they achieved success and when their companies reached profitability.

It will also be launching a new brand campaign on CNN TV and Digital, and – in a media-first – integrating Dangote Industries. Dangote is apparently very big about their image, something local media companies should take note of.

13. Looks like the controversy trailing Visionscape’s operations in Nigeria is not about to end anytime soon.

Contrary to what most people understood, the Association of Waste Managers of Nigeria (AWAM) popularly known as PSP has denied having a partnership deal with Visionscape as regards waste disposal in Lagos.

The Chairman of the association, Oladipo Egbeyemi, said that “claims that Visionscape and the PSP operators have resolved to work as partners following a meeting on Thursday the 22nd February 2018. This is clearly misleading and untrue.”

According to him, while the Exco and Visionscape were in court negotiation terms of a new deal, some members of their association held a parallel meeting with Visionscape and the Ministry of Environment reached an agreement which they claim Visionscape took to the press as a confirmation of an agreement. We just hope these guys resolve their issues quickly by keeping our streets clean. These guys are throwing dirt at each other while the streets of Lagos stinks.visionscape

14. On a flipside, the Chief Executive Officer of VSS, Mr John Irvine says it will partner local truck dealers to facilitate waste management in Lagos State.

They also revealed they will be partnering with Silo Truck.

According to him, VSS has been having issues bringing in vehicles into the country. He claims they currently have started with 55 utility vehicles and has added 43 others. And that while getting the truck was one thing fitting it with the equipment that helps lift dirt was a different challenge. Apparently, this is fabricated differently and on order, which could take weeks to materialize.

15. There have been recent rumours that the Edo Fertilizer Plant and Chemical Company Limited located in Auchi had stopped producing.

Recall, the plant was commissioned in August last year by Vice President Yemi Osibanjo to much fanfare and expected to produce 60,000 metric tons of fertilizer for Edo and other neighbouring states.

Operators of the plant informed journalists on a fact-finding mission that this was untrue and that the reason why they had stopped producing was that their stores were filled with over 30,000 bags of fertilizers. Factory manager of the plant, Mr. Iyere Okhun, who informed journalist explained that “For the few days, we were able to produce more than 30,000 bags that is about 51 trucks of a 600 bags truck. As at yesterday, we have loaded out six trucks.”

The factors of production in Nigeria is something else and I bet some cannot be found in any syllabus. How can you have 30k bags of fertilizers lying in a warehouse with no reliable distribution mechanism??‏

16. Premium Steel Rolling Mill formerly called, Delta Steel, was commissioned last week by Delta State Governor by Governor Dr. Ifeanyin Okowa.

It’s incredible to recall that this same steel company was originally commissioned in 1982.

Just a bit of background, Delta Steel was originally sold Delta Steel in 2006 under controversial circumstances to Pramod Mittal, the younger brother of Lakshmi Mittal, an Indian multibillionaire and Chairman/CEO of ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel manufacturer.

However, Late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua reversed the privatisation of Delta Steel when it was discovered that GSHL breached the terms of the sale by failing to inject equity into the company.

Rather, reports then suggest they borrowed money from Zenith Bank to acquire the asset, defaulted on the loan leaving Zenith Bank with no option but to sell it to AMCON. Premium Steel & Mines, a company owned by Mr. Sunil Vaswani then acquired it from AMCON.‏ Nigeria may not be Wakanda for you but it sure is for a lot of people who come here to hammer.

17. International Microphone Shure Incorporated has announced last week that it was going into partnership with Showgear Limited, a retail player in audio-visual products in Nigeria.

This deal allows Showgear to provide sales and after-sales services of the microphones.

Did you know a Shure ULXS24/BETA58 HANDHELD WIRELESS SYSTEM cost as much as N270k ( I actually never knew this). From what I gather, Global Microphone market is said to be worth about $3.5b by 2015. What do you know about Showgear? Care to share

18. Oando reported last week that it will experience delays in releasing its 2017 Audited accounts as it was under review by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria.

Oando claims the FRC took interest in its financials following the investigations being conducted by the FRC.

Don’t be surprised if these investigations amount to nothing, after all its Nigeria. On a brighter note, Seplat released ‘blistering results’ in 2017 as revenues rose 18% YoY to N53 billion while, Profit Before Tax was 93% up at N25.9 b. However, Profit after tax was N82.7 billion (that’s not an error). Go figure…

19. Fastfood Giant Nestle also released its 2017 FY results reporting a 34% rise in revenues to N244 billion.

Profit after tax was N33.7 billion about 400% higher than the year before. That was a monster of a result.


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