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Business News

Egyptian firm, EFG Hermes outlines plans to attract foreign capital into Nigeria

EFG Hermes last month announced its acquisition of Primera Africa.

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EFG Hermes, Investment banking license

EFG Hermes last month announced its acquisition of Primera Africa, a Nigerian brokerage house. In an interview with Nairametrics, Kato Mukuru, Managing Director – Head of Frontier Markets Research for the firm, discussed the company’s achievements so far, and its plans for the Nigerian unit.

Following your acquisition of Primera Africa, what products does EFG Hermes plan to introduce to contribute to the growth of the Nigerian economy?

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To contribute to the growth of the Nigerian economy, EFG Hermes is focused on bringing new international capital flows into Nigeria from the Middle East, Asia, Europe, the Americas and other African countries. By working with Nigeria’s leading corporates to make sure they are well capitalised, we believe that we best contribute to their growth and the subsequent growth of the Nigeria economy.

What do you envisage are some of the challenges EFG Hermes might experience in the Nigerian market and how do you plan to tackle them?

Our biggest challenge in Nigeria will be liquidity. Following the global financial crisis, daily liquidity in the Nigerian stock market has fallen significantly. We, like all stockbrokers in Nigeria, need to focus on building domestic and international liquidity.

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Whilst we will work with our international distribution platform to bring in more liquidity, we believe that focusing on domestic liquidity is a priority. And to be active in this debate, we believe that a local presence is a prerequisite.

With this acquisition out of the way, are there any plans for EFG Hermes to list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange?

Today EFG Hermes is focused on building the No.1 institutional brokerage in Nigeria. Listing on the exchange is not today’s priority; we are more focused on building a sustainable and leading franchise in Nigeria.

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What has been your success story so far in other countries of your operations?

Since the build out of the EFG Frontier product, there has been numerous success in both the Asian and African parts of the product. The recent Extel Survey rated us the number 1 Frontier Markets Brokerage firm which is as a result of our strong research and trading products.

In 2017 we established a full on the ground Pakistani operation, which is under the space of a year, has become the biggest offshore broker by market share. We have also recently opened on the ground in Bangladesh, as we try and replicate our Pakistani success, where we plan to obtain a trading license in the near future.

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As per Bloomberg rankings, we are the biggest executing broker in Bangladesh by some margin and are number 2 in Pakistan and Sri Lanka year to date.

In Africa, our early focus has been building out the East African product using our Kenyan operations as a hub. Within the year our market share has grown and as per the most recent market share stats in June this year, we are the 4th biggest broker in Kenya. We are currently number 3 market share in Mauritius and number 1 in Rwanda.

In terms of West Africa, despite up until now not having a license in Nigeria we have still maintained a strong presence, and are currently number 4 market share for foreign flows year to date. In BRVM we are no.1 market share for offshore clients.

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Patricia

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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Appointments

Ecobank Transnational appoints Alain Nkontchou as new Chairman

“I am honoured to be appointed as Chairman of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated.”

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Alain Nkontchou

Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) has announced the appointment of Alain Nkontchou as its new Chairman of the board of directors.

Nkontchou, who is Camerounian by nationality, has been serving as an Independent Non-Executive Director of the pan-African banking group since 2015. A statement made available to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) confirmed that his latest appointment took effect on June 30, 2020.

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The Camerounian is taking over from Nigeria’s Emmanuel Ikazoboh, whose six-year tenure as Chairman of Ecobank’s holding company ended last month, even as he just reached the retirement age of 70.  The company also noted that the new appointment is in tandem with its Articles of Association.

While reacting to his own appointment as Chairman, Alain Nkontchou said he is quite honoured and that he was looking forward to working with the rest of the board members.

“I am honoured to be appointed as Chairman of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated. Having served on its Board since 2015, I have seen Ecobank’s resilience and its proud history, built on strong foundation to secure the Bank’s future success. I look forward to working with the Board and Executive team as we continue our journey ahead and I know that we are well-placed to navigate through the current environment and set the standards in financial services for our customers across Africa. I would also like to express my thanks to my predecessor, Mr Emmanuel Ikazoboh, for his leadership of the Board and to wish him all the best for the future,” he said.

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Alain Nkontchou co-founded Enko Capital Management LLP, a London-based asset management company with Johannesburg office. He currently serves as the Managing Partner and of the firm which specialises in prospecting investment opportunities in Africa.

Prior to this time, ETI’s newly-appointed Chairman was a Non-Executive Director at Laurent Perrier champagne between 1999 and 2009. He was also the Managing Director of Credit Suisse’s Global Macro Trading from 1995 to 2008. He held a similar role at JP Morgan Chase & Co.

Meanwhile, from 1989 to 1994, Nkontchou worked with Chemical Bank first in Paris and then New York. At the bank, he rose through the ranks to become the Vice- President, Head of Trading, and Sales. Apparently, he is an accomplished business executive.

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Alain Nkontchou obtained an MSc in Electrical Engineering from Supélec and P.M. Curie University, Paris, and another MSc in Finance and Accounting from ESCP (Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris).


It should be noted that ETI’s stock closed yesterday’s trading session on the Nigerian Stock Exchange with a share price of N4.80. The share price gained by +1.05% to appreciate from its previous close of N4.75. Year to date, ETI’s share price has declined by about 22%.

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Economy & Politics

Nigeria’s public debt is officially N29.83 trillion

Further disaggregation of Nigeria’s total public debt showed that N9.99trn or 34.89% of the debt was external.

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Q1 2020 National Debt report

The total public debt stocks of the Federal Government of Nigeriastates within the Nigerian federation, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) jumped to N28.63 trillion as of Q1 2020. This is according to a report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) which was released on Friday. 

A breakdown of the report showed that the total debt stock of the states as of 31 March 2020 is N4.1 trillion. Meanwhile, these states’ total Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for 2019 was N1.3 trillion. They also received N2.47 trillion from FAAC. 

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Note that as always, Lagos State recorded the highest IGR at N398.7 billion. The state also received N117.8 billion in FAAC disbursements and has a total debt stock of N444.2 billion, thereby making up 10.8% of the total debt stock of the states. 

On the other hand, Yobe State recorded the lowest debt stock out of all the states with just N29.2 billion. This made up just 0.7% of the total debt stock of the states. Meanwhile, the state generated a total IGR of N8.4 billion in 2019. 

Part of the report by the NBS said: 

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“Nigerian States and Federal Debt Stock data as at 31st March 2020 reflected that the country’s total public debt portfolio stood at N28.63trn. Further disaggregation of Nigeria’s total public debt showed that N9.99trn or 34.89% of the debt was external while N18.64trn or 65.11% of the debt was domestic. 

“Similarly, States and FCT domestic debt was put at N4.11trillion with Lagos state accounting for 10.8% of the total domestic debt stock while Yobe State has the least debt stock in this category with a contribution of 0.7%.” 

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Meanwhile, the FCT had total debt of N106.8 billion, making up 2.6% of the total debt stock of the states. The FCT also recorded an IGR of N74.5 billion in 2019 and received N71.9 billion in FAAC. 

The Federal Government’s total domestic debt stock by Q1, 2020 was N14.5 trillion, with FGN bonds making up 72.5% of the total portfolio followed by treasury bills at 18.24%. 

The total public debt stock has risen by 4% since December 2019, as the previous figure stood at N27.4 trillion. 

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You may download NBS’ Nigerian Domestic and Foreign Debt report by clicking here.  

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Coronavirus

COVID-19: WHO reverses itself based on new discovery about the virus

This admission is coming on the heels of criticisms from experts.

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WHO warns countries against rushing to lift coronavirus restrictions

The World Health Organization (WHO) has provided an update on the modes of transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, from infected people, based on new scientific evidence.

The WHO on Thursday, formally recognized that the coronavirus can be transmitted indoors by droplets in the air, marking a reversal for the United Nation’s agency.

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In a scientific brief, the WHO said that people who spend time in crowded places with poor ventilation are at risk of being infected by the coronavirus as the droplets circulate throughout the air in indoor gatherings.

This admission is coming on the heels of criticisms from experts who have been putting pressure on the UN health agency to update its description of the spread of the virus to include the possibility of airborne infections.

The WHO now admits that transmissions through aerosols, or tiny air droplets, could have been behind outbreaks of COVID-19 that have been reported in some closed environments such as restaurants, nightclubs, places of worship or places of work where people may be shouting, talking or singing.

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Apart from refraining from having close contact with infected people and frequent hand-washing, the WHO pointed out that people should avoid crowded places, close-contact settings, and confined and enclosed spaces with poor ventilation.

However, the WHO still focuses more on the spread of the virus by larger droplets that are discharged through coughing, sneezing and singing or from contact with a contaminated surface.

The WHO in its statement said, “Respiratory droplet transmission can occur when a person is in close contact (within 1 metre) with an infected person who has respiratory symptoms (e.g. coughing or sneezing) or who is talking or singing; in these circumstances, respiratory droplets that include virus can reach the mouth, nose or eyes of a susceptible person and can result in infection.”

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It also revealed that based on what is currently known, the transmission of COVID-19 primarily occurs from people when they have symptoms and can also occur just before they develop symptoms when they are in close proximity to others for prolonged periods of time. While someone who never develops symptoms can also pass the virus to others, it is still not clear to what extent this occurs and more research is needed in this area.

The UN health agency had previously advised that the spread of the virus through the air is only common when people, mostly health care workers, were involved in medical procedures that produced aerosols, though a lot of evidence has surfaced suggesting that the virus can stay in the air for hours and infect a person when inhaled.

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