Leading businessman and Chairman of Aliko Dangote Foundation, Alhaji Aliko Dangote has challenged the government to muster the will to provide critical infrastructure that will make the nation’s environment conducive to commerce and industry.
Dangote made this appeal while delivering the third Eminent Persons Business lecture and inauguration of the Aliko Dangote Complex, a N300 million naira ultra-modern building donated to the University of Ibadan, School of Business, at the Ajibode University extension, Ibadan.
He said his foundation will continue to prioritize education as a means of raising entrepreneurs that will change the face of the nation’s economy and lead to real growth and development.
He told his audience comprising of academia, students, royal fathers and businessmen that Nigeria has got the potential s to be among the most industrialized countries in the world and required only the right policies to propel the investors into taking the lead in industrialization efforts.
Delivering his paper titled “Industrialization – Backward Integration as a strategy for National Development: The Story of the Dangote Group”, Dangote whose lecture was delivered by Engr. Ahmed Mansur, the Group Executive Director of the Dangote Industries Limited, stated that for the nation to breakthrough industrially, the leadership and the people must have the political will, the courage and perseverance to succeed.
Dangote was of the opinion that backward integration is one of the fine policies of the government that has helped Nigeria’s economy and that he had led in this regard as a private sector operator, advising that the policy could be replicated in other sectors of the economy.
Highlighting the advantages of the backward integration, the business mogul stated that there would be increased control and efficiency as companies are better able to control quality and coordinate the delivery of raw materials or other supplies.
According to him, this level of control allows companies to increase their supply chain efficiency. Stock outs and over-stocking are better avoided, raw material supply is better managed, and delivery schedules can be better guaranteed.
He pointed out that going by his own experience as leading cement producer using backward integration, there will be cost control as costs can be better managed all along the production process.
Citing instances of countries that have used backward integration to climb the industrial ladder key sectors, Dangote said “Several countries have involved backward integration in some of their industries. Examples include Brazil, Ghana, Malaysia, Norway, and Russia. China and the United States of America probably have the most vertically integrated firms given their size and industrialization focus. This typically start with local content requirements for extractive industries and then includes consolidation across product value chains.
“Norway successfully managed the transition from a country with no direct capabilities in the oil and gas sector on the discovery of oil in the late 1960s to become a competitive producer of a variety of oil field services and equipment. Today, more than half of the capital inputs used in the sector are sourced locally, along with 80% of the sector’s operational and maintenance inputs.
“Similarly, oil and gas firms operating in Brazil were awarded more points when tendering for contracts if they demonstrated commitment to purchasing higher shares of goods and services from local Brazilian suppliers. Specific local content targets were set for onshore projects (70%) and offshore projects in shallow (51%) or deep (37%) water.”
For Nigeria, Dangote stated that using backward integration was not just full of bed of roses as Nigerian businesses face major challenges in developing backward integration.
These according to him include difficulties in obtaining adequate and reliable energy and power supply; lengthy, costly and politically sensitive processes of gaining access to land; poor-quality transportation infrastructure; the high cost of capital; long lead times before backward integration efforts yield rewards; sensitivity to external shocks and unforeseen costs;
“Inconsistency of policy implementation; lack of inter-sectoral policy coordination; inadequacy of knowledge and skills in the workforce; and lack of foreign exchange. Most of these challenges relate to the poor quality of the overall business enabling environment, rather than due to local content policies.”
Nevertheless, he argued that the policy had helped Nigeria in the cement sector pointing out that as at 2002 before the backward integration policy “local installed cement production capacity was about 3 million metric tons per annum (while actual production was under 2 million metric tons). Cement demand was approximately 9 million metric tonnes per annum and the supply gap was filled by cement imports. Imported cement accounted for over 70% of local cement consumption.
“Conservative estimates of the cement import bill as at 2002 placed it at between US$500 – US$600 million annually. More importantly, it essentially exported jobs to other countries and exposed the national economy to risk. Nigeria was one of the largest importers of cement in the world despite its huge limestone deposits. To build the nation’s capacity in the cement sector.”
However, with government introducing the policy in 2002. “It restricted cement imports into Nigeria while the issuance of cement import licenses were tied to investments in local cement production capacity with strict monitoring to ensure compliance. Sector specific incentives for the cement industry, in addition to other more general incentives e.g. tax holidays, capital allowance etc. were also an important part of the policy.”
According to him, “the impact of the policy was felt within the first decade of its implementation as Nigeria became self-sufficient in cement production. Installed cement production capacity that has now grown from 3 million metric tons in 2002 to 44 million metric tons as at December 2017. The country has successfully transitioned from being a net importer to self-sufficiency and then to a net exporter since 2017.”
In his remark earlier, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Prof. Abel Idowu Olayinka thanked Alhaji Dangote for the building describing it as a legacy that would forever be cherished generation yet unborn and by the donation, Dangote has become the first largest individual donor to the university.
He explained that Dangote was to donate N250 million to the university but they prevailed on him to build the complex rather than giving money and that the decision has paid off for the university.
Governor Isiaka Ajimobi of Oyo state, who is the Guest of Honour on the occasion urged Nigerian youths to learn a big lesson from Dangote’s humble beginning but with hard work has become one of the greatest entrepreneur in Africa.
The Governor who was represented by the state Commissioner of Education, Prof. Joseph Adeniyi Olowofela, lamented that most youths of today do not cherish hard work but want to get rich quick which explained the increase in social vices in the country.
“We need to shift the paradigm shift from the get rich quickly at all cost to hard work that leads to wealth”, he stated.
The Director of the University of Ibadan, School of Business, Prof. Nike Osofisan said the institution owed Alhaji Dangote a huge debt because the complex was more than a building.
She explained “the fully air conditioned complex has 9 lecture theatres, 10 lecturer offices, four Executive Director Offices, One Canteen, 250 KVA dedicated Transformer, and male and female conveniences”.
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.