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Lafarge Holcim confirms expansion plan for African operations

Lafarge Holcim is addressing operational issues in its Middle East and African units.

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Lafarge Africa provides grant for startups, Lafarge Africa’s latest earnings report reveals 8.5% decline in gross profit , Lafarge Africa gets new CFO one month after resignation of former finance director, Lafarge Plc reveals why it invited Italian man with Coronavirus to Nigeria, Lafarage Africa group Plc posts a revenue of N213 billion in 2019, profit up N17 billion

Lafarge Holcim (parent company of Lafarge Africa) is addressing operational issues in its Middle East and African units. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the firm, Jan Jenisch disclosed this during an interview with Reuters.

“Operational issues in some markets have been addressed and we expect to deliver increasing margins as we capture the upward trend in demand through the second half of 2018,”

Lafarge Africa comprises of operations in Nigeria and South Africa.

Reasons for the rough patch

Lafarge Africa (formerly known as WAPCO) has been weighed down in the last few years by both macroeconomic and company-specific issues.

A foreign exchange crisis in 2016 resulted in the company taking a loan from its parent company, which it repaid with proceeds of a N131 billion rights issue held last year. The company was also saddled with loans following its merger with Holcim’s South African operations.

The company made a loss in 2017 as well as the half year ended June 2018.

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Results for the half year ended June 2018 show revenue increased from N154.84 billion in 2017 to N162.89 billion in 2018. The company made a loss before tax of N6.35 billion as against a profit before tax of N18.16 billion recorded in as against same period in 2017.

Loss after tax stood at ₦3.9 billion as against profit after tax of ₦19.7 billion recorded in H1 2017.

Chairman of Lafarge Africa, Bolaji Balogun, in May revealed the company planned to expand its plants once it had paid down its debt. Current capacity is about 10.5 million tonnes.

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The company this week disclosed its intentions to raise about N90 billion through a rights issue to restructure its debt.

Competitors BUA Cement and Dangote Cement have already begun moves to expand production. BUA this year completed a 1.5 million tonnes expansion of its Kalambaina Cement plant in Sokoto and expects the combined production capacity of all its plants to hit 8 million tonnes by year-end.

Lafarge Holcim, is the resulting entity from the 2005 merger of French cement giant Lafarge and Swiss firm Holcim. The group sold 209.5 million tonnes of cement in 2017.

Lafarge  Africa ( formerly known as Wapco) closed at N28.50 in today’s trading session on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Year to date, the stock is down 38.7%

Earlier this week management announced the resignation of Jean-Carlos Angulo as Non-Executive Director of the company with effect from the 20th of July 2018. He has since been replaced by Rossen Papazov.

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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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#EndSARS: CACOVID earmarks over N250 billion to rebuild police stations and create jobs

CACOVID has budgeted nothing less than N250 billion to rehabilitate damaged police stations across the country and solve the issue of unemployment.

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Over N27 billion received, what has CACOVID been up to?

The Coalition Alliance Against COVID (CACOVID) has budgeted nothing less than N250 billion to rehabilitate damaged police stations across the country and solve the issue of unemployment.

This is in response to the post-EndSARS violence which led to the loss of lives and valuable property last October.

This is according to a recent press release by the CBN, and seen by Nairametrics. The latest action is sequel to series of decisions reached at the stakeholders’ engagement under the CACOVID, which is aimed at developing measures that will support the government’s effort in rebuilding confidence in the nation’s economy.

What you should know

• In a bid to further strengthen the security apparatus in the country, CACOVID has committed to providing over N100 billion to procure equipment and gadgets for the Nigerian Police Force over the next 2 years.

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• It also earmarked the sum of over N150 billion to set up and implement the Youth Development Programme which will be available at selected training centres across the country. The programme is expected to provide vocational and technical education for at least 4 million Nigerian youths over the next 5 years, with beneficiaries getting trained on craftwork, plumbing, masonry, carpentry, and other artisanal related skills for which sufficient demand exist in Nigeria.

(READ MORE: COVID-19 Palliatives: CACOVID donation is 95% complete – PTF)

  • The selected student/beneficiaries will be eligible to access a N25 billion fund domiciled to support the entrepreneurial drive of the beneficiaries
  • For the out-of-school graduates that possess certain Entrepreneurial skills, CACOVID will be working with Bankers Committee to complete the Creative center at National Arts Theater area of Lagos in four select areas namely; ICT and software design/development, Fashion, Music and Movies. This project is expected to cost the Bankers Committee over N40 Billion.

Other key resolutions of the Alliance include;

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  • Banks and financial institutions would be required to extend relief through concessionary loans to affected businesses and firms, so they can rebuild and restock their stores and continue to conduct their business activities
  • CACOVID has committed to fully rehabilitate all 44 damaged and destroyed police stations nationwide in a bid to restore provision of security in affected locations.

Why it matters

The response is a way of complementing the Federal Government’s effort of rebuilding the economy which has been badly affected by the pandemic and violent demonstrations. As a way of forestalling future occurrences, CACOVID highlighted unemployment as a key issue that ought to be addressed, in lieu of that, a Youth Development Fund which is aimed at advancing entrepreneurship in the country, is mooted.

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Covid-19: African Union in talks with China and Russia over vaccine

The AU and Africa CDC have revealed that they have reached out to both China and Russia over the possibility of vaccine partnerships.

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Covid-19: African Union in talks with China and Russia over vaccine

The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the African Union announced they have been in talks with China and Russia over the possibility of vaccine partnerships to ensure that Africa is not left behind when vaccines become available.

This was disclosed by John Nkengasong, Africa CDC Chief, at the Bloomberg Invest Africa online conference.

READ: Covid-19: Pfizer to file for emergency authorization for its vaccine, reaches safety milestone

Mr. Nkengasong said that Africa would not limit itself to only one vaccine partner and that Africa was willing to work with as many partners as possible to provide a vaccine for its 1.2 billion people.

“We are not limiting ourselves to any particular partner. As a continent of 1.2 billion people, we are willing to work with any partner who adheres to our strategic plan for vaccine development and access in Africa.

“The continent is taking the access and development of vaccine very, very seriously. We really need to see clinical trials being done on the continent, so they address issues like background infections from other diseases.”
He disclosed that the Africa CDC resumed talks last week with China, to discuss partnerships with Chinese Drug Manufacturers and also clinical trials in Africa. He added that Russia has been approached with a similar plan.

He said that the WHO Covax programme only covers 20% of the population, but Africa will need 60% of its population vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.

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There are multiple avenues being explored now to make sure Africa has the appropriate doses of vaccines and also that we have that in a timely fashion, not in a delayed manner,” Nkengasong said.

He revealed that the AFREXIM Bank agreed to finance vaccine procurement with $5 billion and is waiting to see how much it will receive from World Bank’s $12 billion vaccine procurement fund for developing nations.

READ: COVID-19: G-20 to extend debt relief to developing nations

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What you should know 

Nairametrics reported earlier this month that Pfizer Inc. disclosed that its experimental vaccine, which is jointly developed with BioNTech, was more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19, based on initial data from a large study in the ongoing phase 3 trials.

(READ MORE: COVID-19: AstraZeneca vaccine could be 90% effective against the virus)

Last week, a pharmaceutical company, Moderna Inc., stated that its COVID-19 vaccine was 94.5% effective in treating coronavirus, after preliminary analysis of a large late-stage clinical trial.

The G-20 nations also announced a pledge to pay for vaccine distribution to developing nations that could not afford it. The leaders also unveiled a debt extension programme to developing nations during the weekend’s G-20 summit.

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The Federal Government of Nigeria also announced through the Ministry of Health, that it would inaugurate an 18-man Covid-19 Vaccine Task Team, in a bid to ensure vaccine security In Nigeria.

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Covid-19: EU considers skipping vaccine patents to boost vaccine access

The EU has disclosed plans to increase its access to Covid-19 vaccines by offering financial incentives to vaccine production companies.

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AstraZeneca suspends COVID-19 vaccine final stage trial over safety concerns, COVID-19: J&J starts vaccine trials on humans after success on monkeys

The European Union (EU) says its planning emergency measures to increase its access to Covid-19 vaccines including sidestepping patent rights and offering financial incentives to vaccine production companies to move production to Europe.

This was revealed in an EU document on Wednesday and reported by Reuters. The Document says the EU may create an emergency coordination mechanism to be issued at short notice when the EU needs a vaccine license, which is different from fully patent waivers, discussed in the WTO last week.

READ: COVID-19: EU to buy up to 300million doses of BioNTech-Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine

The EU says the new move will ensure faster procedures during a pandemic, which will enable generic production in the EU without the consent of patent holders.

The Commission sees the need to ensure that effective systems for issuing compulsory licenses are in place, to be used as a means of last resort and a safety net, when all other efforts to make IP (intellectual property) available have failed,” the EU’s document said.

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READ: COVID-19 boosts Fidson Healthcare Plc’s Q2 2020 performance

The EU’s actions may be triggered by its inability to access the antiviral drug, remdesivir, during the pandemic, as the United States ordered most of the stock.

READ: U.S dollar drops, Currency traders fear increasing COVID-19 caseloads

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The EU also disclosed that it will begin a consultation process with pharmaceutical companies next year to address issues in its pharmaceutical value chains. They added that measures could be imposed to encourage manufacturers to move pharmaceutical production to Europe from China and India.

“The Commission calls on member states to ensure that the tools they have are as effective as possible; for instance, by putting in place fast-track procedures for issuing compulsory licenses in emergency situations,” the EU said.

READ: COVID-19: Vaccine Alliance says vaccine might cost a maximum of $40 per dose

They added that it is urgent “to assess whether manufacturing capacity for certain critical medicines may be required in the EU.”

“We need to be able to rely on ourselves, not on others,” the Commission’s Vice President, Margaritis Schinas said. He disclosed that the EU is working on more compliance with drug supply need and increased stock levels by 2022.

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What you should know

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This comes as surprise considering the EU rejected a World Trade Organization (WTO) proposal last week to waive the intellectual property rights needed for the manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccines. The waiver would have made the vaccine access cheaper for developing nations.

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